ALLOUEZ — Wisconsin winters can be brutally cold, especially for school children. Wearing the right winter gear can mean the difference between playing outside at recess or staying inside. For the second year in a row, St. Matthew Parish is collecting children’s snow boots and snow pants that will be donated to two local schools. The brand new boots and snow pants are given to needy children whose families cannot afford them.
According to Sue Jauquet and Ginger Micksch, the collection of winter outerwear began at the end of October and concluded the last weekend of November. “Our goal is 100 of each,” said Micksch, parish pastoral council chairperson. “We have about 75 pair of boots, added Jauquet, pastoral council secretary.
The clothing drive is a project conceived by the parish pastoral council, the women said, and items are donated through a reverse collection. “We pass slips (in the collection basket during weekend Masses) and then you bring what you choose,” said Micksch. Each slip included a size to purchase, ranging from toddler to boys’ 14-16. In addition, some parishioners chose to give cash donations for purchase of outerwear.
The parish is partnering with two local schools – St. Thomas More Catholic School and Webster Elementary School – for the distribution of outerwear.
Micksch explained that they contacted the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) school system to help identify a school that could benefit from the collection. “They put us in touch with St. Thomas More,” she said. “They were thrilled to know that we would be able to provide them with this” collection.
Jauquet contacted Webster School, which was also happy to receive the donations for needy students.
“These are for the kids to keep,” said Micksch. “It’s not like they have to bring them back. So (the schools) figure if these kids show up without a pair of boots, they don’t have them and they get a pair of boots.”
“The schools have to store all of this and then their staff determines when a child needs it and that’s how they are distributed,” added Jauquet.
The women believe other parishes might be interested in hosting a similar reverse collection for low-income school children.
“I think it would be wonderful,” said Jauquet. “When I talked to the principal at Webster, she said, ‘I’m on the parish council at my parish. We could do that.’”
Parishes interested in learning more about the reverse collection can contact the parish office at 920-435-6811.