Image655 Tompkins families receive donations of warm winter clothing

The Ithaca Rotary Club wrapped up its 20th annual Share the Warmth campaign in mid-December. Donations of new or gently used winter clothing were gratefully collected, sorted, and distributed across the area by volunteers from a number of partner organizations: Ithaca Rotary Club, Trumansburg Rotary Club, Cornell University, Ithaca College, TC-3, Ecology House Recycling, Finger Lakes Re-Use, and the Samaritan Center of Catholic Charities.

ImageIthaca Rotary is pleased to announce that 655 Tompkins County households – 1,023 adults and 874 children – were the happy recipients of donations made to Share the Warmth. More than 4,640 items were picked up, collected, and sorted by volunteers for distribution through the Samaritan Center of Catholic Charities. The donated clothing was then distributed by Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga free of charge to individuals who need such items for the winter months. 

“Rotary’s belief in ‘Service Above Self’ is truly evident in the support they provide for Share the Warmth every year,” said co-chair Doug Levine. “From collecting to sorting to delivering and distributing, Share the Warmth is a huge operation and we simply could not succeed without so many dedicated volunteers. I’m truly amazed how this community can work together to collect so many winter items for people in need. Looking at the statistics on paper is one thing, but when you see the quantity of winter clothing collected in person, it is truly moving.”

In addition to all of the clothing collected, one Cornell student’s family learned about Share the Warmth because their son was volunteering on campus. Doug explains: “His mother called us up and asked what we needed the most, so we told her blankets. A few days later, 280 brand new fleece blankets were shipped directly to Catholic Charities! These blankets were in addition to the 194 we collected on our own. Just knowing that 280 families were able to take home a new blanket this year makes Share the Warmth a complete success.”

ImageIthaca Rotary wishes to thank the 17 locations around Tompkins County that set out the familiar “red box” collection bins: Wegmans; P & C Markets; Tops Markets; Greenstar Co-op; Kendal at Ithaca; Island Health & Fitness; Ithaca College; the State Theatre; Tompkins Trust Company; Trumansburg Shur-Save; The Rink/Field; the Ithaca Youth Bureau; Ithaca Agway; TC-3; the Ithaca YMCA; and Cornell University.

Share The Warmth was initiated by the Ithaca Rotary Club in 1992. Last year, the program distributed 4,562 items to 1,655 individuals throughout Tompkins County. Nearly 30% of Ithaca children are eligible to receive free or reduced school lunch. Almost 20% of Tompkins County residents live below the poverty level, compared to 14% state-wide.

For more information about Share the Warmth, please call co-chairs Doug Levine at 607-592-0153 or Erin Marteal at 607-227-2982.