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What keeps volunteers going in winter?


Created date

January 25th, 2010

Just before winter set in, the Monarch Landing Volunteer Projects Committee announced its cold-weather clothing drive. Meanwhile, Tallgrass Creek residents began their HUGS collection. Everyone hoped their friends and neighbors would warmly embrace the projects. As single-digit temperatures descended on the Midwest, they had their answer. [caption id="attachment_7569" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Kate Carmichael, Marion Slomski, and Sharon Morse, members of Monarch Landing s Volunteer Projects Committee, flash warm smiles for their neighbors who donated cold-weather clothing."]Monarch Landing in Naperville, Ill., donated more than 300 coats, sweaters, and gloves, plus dozens of pairs of boots, to the Wayside Cross rescue mission in Aurora, Ill., and People s Resource Center in Wheaton, Ill. There s so much here, one Monarch Landing resident says as she carefully folds a down-filled parka. There have to be more than six dozen pairs of boots and sturdy shoes just think of all the warm toes! Carol Hedtcke also is thinking of the recipients as she labels a box filled with sweaters, hats, and scarves. I walked outside a lot for my job as a home health nurse, and I know how the cold can get to you, she says. I m glad that someone many people will have a chance to be a little warmer when they re outside too. A few states away, Tallgrass Creek in Overland Park, Kans., was keeping people warm as well. The community donated hundreds of clothing items to the Johnson County Christmas Bureau. For Tallgrass Creek resident Paula Dunmire, that meant HUGS galore. We re a community of very generous and caring people, and we chose HUGS as a catchy phrase that goes along with all we re doing to wrap our arms around charities in the area, she says. The HUGS acronym translates to Hats, Underwear, Gloves, and Socks, which Dunmire and fellow Tallgrass Creek community members provided. In sum, Tallgrass Creek collected hundreds of cold-weather clothing items for the Johnson County Christmas Bureau, an all-volunteer agency providing clothing, food, and gifts for thousands of families in need. The agency needed all the help it could get; due to the recession, it served 3,300 families this year, compared with 2,500 last year. We gave lots of HUGS this winter, says Damien Baker-Webster, executive assistant at Tallgrass Creek. We all residents and staff plan to continue our mission, which is sharing our gifts to create a community that celebrates life. In fact, a committee of residents and staff already is compiling a list of charitable organizations to support each month in 2010, beginning with a women s shelter in January. Monarch Landing also has a calendar of philanthropy and volunteer activities for the year. We are blessed and feel so fortunate to have what we have that we want to share whatever and whenever we can, Dunmire says. There are always people in need, and this is a great way to be thinking of our community and not just ourselves.