Some area children are being bundled with extra love and warmth this winter.
The Owatonna Area Retired Educators Association recently completed its collection efforts for cold weather hats, mittens and gloves for students at Wilson Elementary School in Owatonna. Members delivered 60 hats and more than 20 pairs of mittens and gloves to the school in early February.
“Elementary kids tends to lose things,” said Gary Schwartz, president of OAREA. “We have all been teachers and administrators and know what’s like to have kids come into the classroom without hats and gloves. If we can keep them warm, that’s half the battle.”
Schwartz also acknowledged that some children are faced with situations where their families can’t afford outer accessories. He said OAREA buys the “good stuff” that’s water proof and insulated.
Funds to purchase the warm weather items were donated by OAREA members. In addition to the member donations, the organization also received a donation of $50 from the United Educators Credit Union.
Overall donations were down slightly from previous years, according to Schwartz. But that didn’t stop the group from reaching out to kids in need of winter gear.
Next year Schwartz plans to apply for a $500 grant to supplement the donations they achieve. Typically in one year OAREA supplies gear for a single school, but if it is successful with the grant, two schools will outfitted next year, he said.
OAREA includes 65 retired educators from Blooming Prairie, Owatonna, NRHEG, Medford, Waseca and Faribault. The organization meets monthly for both business meetings and social functions.