Locations selling ReMitts can be found on their website.-Last year, sales of ReMitts provided over $10,000 to help end hunger in our community.
How do you turn used sweaters into food for thousands of people in need in our community?
The organization ReMitts uses just three simple steps:
1 - Using wool sweaters that are otherwise destined for landfills, ReMitts volunteers upcycle the once-loved items to create new one-of-a kind mittens. The wool is felted and cut to size.
2 - Local volunteers gather weekly throughout the year to hand craft the pieces into unique warm mittens.
3 - Remitts are primarily sold at local coffee and gift shops. 100% of the proceeds raised in Dane County are donated to St. Vincent DePaul food pantry, Middleton Outreach Ministry, and The River Food Pantry
How did this grass-roots philanthropic organization start?
“In 2008, I read an article in the newspaper about a pastor in a small church who was raising funds, and he gave each congregant 100 dollars with the charge to “grow” the money and then donate the proceeds.” People did a variety of things, from washing windows to making jam, and a substantial amount of money was raised. “I thought - if I donated 100 dollars of seed money, how much could that grow for a good cause?” said Janet Tupy, founder of ReMitts.
“Several months later I saw some mittens made from recycled sweaters in a gift shop. I thought ‘I can do this!’” I gathered a few friends and set a goal to raise $1,000 in 2009,” said Tupy.
Still a loosely organized, grass roots organization, ReMitts is run entirely by volunteers.
St Vincent De Paul donates the vast majority of the sweaters. (These sweaters do not meet their criteria to be sold in their retail stores), a local businessman generously donates office space, local retail stores volunteer retail space to sell the mittens and of course, fantastic team of volunteers who do everything from washing sweaters, cutting mitten pieces, machine sewing mittens, hand sewing buttons and attaching tags. Still others stock the retail sites with mittens and work with the area food pantries.
“There are many tasks and we accept what time and talents our volunteers are able to give,” said Tupy. “Some volunteers only work at formal workdays, generally Tuesdays and Saturdays, and others only volunteer at home. Still others buy mittens for their friends and family. I like to think that we have a way to engage everyone. ReMitts only exists because of our fantastic team of volunteers!”
“We love ReMitts because they are full of love and comfort. We know that the food we can provide thanks to the mitten proceeds provides that same hope, love and comfort for area families in need,” said Ellen Carlson, Executive Director for Middleton Outreach Ministry. “We distribute over 1.4 million pounds of food each year. It takes an entire community to make that possible.”
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