Just when local residents warmed up to a beautiful fall weekend, Sherri Dabbs was pleased to see miserable weather back again.
A long line formed early for the start of the annual Holiday House Winter Wraps program on Monday at the Kenosha County Job Center, 8600 Sheridan Road. The three-day coat giveaway continues from noon to 8 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Around 3,000 children ages 15 and younger will stay warm this winter thanks to the generosity of others.
“(Sunday) I was a bit nervous because it was so nice outside,” said Dabbs, a supervisor with Goodwill Industries of Southeastern WI Inc. and event coordinator. “It always helps when we have bad weather.”
The Winter Wraps program distributes coats, hats, mittens/gloves, scarves and boots to Kenosha families.
The event is funded through Kenosha Christmas Charities Inc. (Goodfellows) with distribution and coordination provided by Goodwill Industries of Southeastern WI Inc.
The items distributed also come from donations by local businesses, organizations and individuals in the community from clothing drive drop boxes at Kenosha Unified schools, local banks and Martino’s Master Dry Cleaners, which also provided cleaning for the coats.
Kenosha resident Jennifer Arguello, 34, learned of the event through her kids’ elementary school, Edward Bain School of Language and Arts.
“I’m very thankful for it,” Arguello said. “It’s been really quick and easy. Everyone has been very helpful.”
The smooth operation was due in part to a dedicated volunteer effort from Mahone Middle School staff and students. Dozens of students organized coats, hung them on display and assisted families quickly and efficiently through the distribution center.
“These are students that were recommended by teachers or their counselors,” Mahone guidance counselor Keef Weinstein said. “We have a different group in here every day. They’re taking time out of their schedule to do this. They’re still responsible for all of the work they miss.”
Last year, there were 1,245 registered families and 2,990 coats distributed.
“Throughout the registration process, we saw increased numbers early on,” Dabbs said. “We’re staying pretty even with what we did last year.”
On-site registration is available until 4 p.m. Wednesday. Those interested in registering must provide:
Picture identification, such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport
Proof of Kenosha County residency like a utility bill or other mail with name and address
Social Security cards for everyone in the home or a Food-Share or BadgerCare case number.