Warming the Heart and Soul

Local effort offers winter gear for those in need

By Daniel GaitanKENOSHA.COM

Gaitan is a proud Kenosha native who has covered his local community for much of his professional career. The DePaul University graduate served previously as an award-winning writer for the Kenosha News.

Nobody in Kenosha should face the coming winter months without hats, scarves and gloves.

That’s the goal of Jennifer Dooley-Hogan, who is spearheading the second annual “Warming Event” across town.

The effort includes four “Warming Chest” locations: Urban Outreach Center, 6218 26th Ave; Common Grounds, 5159 6th Ave.; Herzing University, 5800 Seventh Ave.; In the Garden of Eden, 711 57th St. 

The chests are filled with free gently used or new gloves, hats, scarves, socks and hand warmers. Because it’s 2020, the chests will also have free masks and hand sanitizer to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

“Our dream would be to put a ‘Warming Tree’ or ‘Warming Chest’ in every neighborhood in Kenosha.”

Jennifer Dooley-Hogan, principal of Dooley & Associates

Dooley-Hogan said no one should feel ashamed or embarrassed for participating in the effort. 

“The need is definitely greater this year,” Dooley-Hogan said. “A lot of people go at nighttime to utilize the chests. I can look at them in the morning and [the chests] are full, and then I come back the next morning and they’re empty.”

Dooley-Hogan said Kenoshans typically respond with generosity when called upon.

“They step-up 110 percent,” she said. “Another beautiful thing is that a lot of the donations are beautiful hand-knit items. We received over 20 of the cutest owl hats and matching mittens for kids from someone who made them locally. Cute, fashionable, fun. It’s really, really neat to see people with artistic talents using them for people in need.”

Dooley-Hogan said last year she received approval for a “Warming Tree” in Veteran’s Park, 625 52nd St., and it proved popular. However, she said city officials unexpectedly denied use of the park this year. 

“Last year, we maintained the tree through March and people used it every day,” Dooley-Hogan said. 

After receiving an email denying permission in Veteran’s Park, Dooley-Hogan soon began reaching out to local businesses and friends to find another way to offer such items downtown.

Crystal Miller, who ran for the State Assembly this fall, suggested Dooley-Hogan roll out the chests. Miller sponsored three chests. Over a dozen businesses and restaurants are helping raise and coordinate donations. 

To ensure such a “Warming Tree” was available to those in need, Dooley-Hogan also reached out to the Shalom Center. 

Dustin Beth, Shalom’s director of development and community engagement, said the local nonprofit is more than happy to participate. 

“We were very fortunate that we could still have a tree because it’s right on our property,” Beth said. “A ‘Warming Tree’ springs hope for people… There’s no questions asked. There’s no barrier for entry to use it. It’s there for people to utilize.”

Donations can be delivered at the following locations:

Bellissima’s Boutique
5821-6th Ave.
Wednesday – Sunday
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dooley & Associates
600 52nd St. Suite 200
Monday – Friday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Faded Barbershop for Men
2227 63rd St.
Tuesday – Saturday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

702 57th St.
Monday – Friday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Herzing University
5800 Seventh Ave.
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Jockey Store
5500 Sixth Ave.
Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Kiddie Kare Akademie
9244 39th Ave.
Monday – Friday
5:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Sandy’s Popper
5503 Sixth Avenue
Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Shalom Center
4314 39th Avenue
Monday – Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Sports Physical Therapists – North
3620 57th Ave. Suite 400
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sports Physical Therapists – South
10222 74th St. Suite 211
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Spot
2117 75th St.
Open Daily
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To & From Gift Shop
5535 Sixth Ave.
Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 1 to 6PM
Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Vault & Shel’s Bridal
625 57th St.
Open Daily
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.