With sub-zero temperatures sweeping the state, Wisconsinites can “bundle up” this winter thanks to the thousands of donations made by Wisconsin residents, travelers and businesses through the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s “Big Bundle Up” campaign. More than 11,000 winter clothing items, including hats, scarves, snow pants, coats and mittens, were donated to more than 75 different charities throughout Wisconsin.

“Each year, we are extremely proud of the generosity that continues to be shown throughout the state by residents, travelers and industry leaders in order to give warm clothing to those in need,” Governor Scott Walker said. “For a third year, this campaign has successfully brought communities together to positively impact the well being of state residents, and we thank all those who supported and took part in this effort.”

The campaign, which stemmed from the 2012 “Great Lakes Mitten Campaign,” invited the public to donate new and gently used winter items to Travel Wisconsin Welcome Centers, participating chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus and local businesses. Tourism partners then donated the collected items to local and community charitable organizations and shelters.

“We are excited to see the dedication and enthusiasm exhibited by the many tourism information centers throughout Wisconsin,” said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. “The success and growth of this campaign can be attributed to these industry partners who continue to support this initiative year after year.”

Many heart-warming stories came out of this year’s collection. The Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau received numerous handmade scarves and hats from local individuals and employees, and even had someone donate the coat off their back. Several collection sites also received large donations of homemade items from local knitting groups, including a Wausau knitting group that made more than 50 stocking caps to donate, and a Fox Cities senior knitting club that created dozens of homemade items for the cause.

A few private businesses and organizations stepped up as well. Wisconsin Knitwear, a Milwaukee-based company, generously doubled their donation amount from last year by providing 1,000 knit hats. ZooZatZ, a Minnesota company, donated 500 cheesehead-themed.

Last year’s “The Big Bundle Up” campaign collected more than 17,000 winter items for Wisconsin charities. The initiative won a "Best in Show" Paragon Award from the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of Public Relations Society of America.

The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the state as the Midwest’s premier travel destination for fun. By executing industry-leading marketing programs, the Department plays a significant role in delivering exceptional customer service and generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found at: