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Families, organizations in dire need of help as bitter cold hits Milwaukee

Posted at 5:06 PM, Nov 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-07 22:19:39-05

MILWAUKEE — It was hard enough navigating our own way across ice-covered sidewalks and parking lots Thursday. Imagine having to do it, while also guiding dozens of rambunctious kindergartners.

"When we come to the icy spots, they know to do the penguin walk," said kindergarten teacher, Jane Danner. "The kids start singing 'waddle, waddle, waddle.'"

We ran into the class from Tamarack Waldorf School making their way to the playground Thursday morning. It may be at least 20 degrees below normal for this time of year, but recess doesn't stop.

The problem? Because this cold weather is hitting so early, many of us weren't prepared.

"We've noticed some of the kids only had their very thin mittens with them," Danner said. "So we were digging through some piles of extra gear we have at school, to get them ready to go outside."

The same holds true for a lot of social service organizations too.

"Because we don't have a lot of storage space at our shelter, we don't typically put out the call for winter gear donations until a few weeks before it gets really cold," said Donna Rongholt-Migan, the Executive Director of Cathedral Center. "That's usually not until December or January, so we are a bit unprepared right now."

Cathedral Center provides emergency housing for women and children, and is currently at capacity.

"We're looking for really sturdy gloves, hats, mittens," Ringholt-Migan said. "Everything waterproof. Many of our residents still go to jobs or training, or have to get their kids to school. They are walking to the bus stop, and need waterproof boots or more sturdy shoes in these icy conditions. We also need boots, gloves, hats and snowsuits for school-age children."

The organization is in need of warm winter coats in Women's Size Large, Extra Large, and above. Here is a wish list from Cathedral Center.

Because storage is limited, and the shelter receives new families every day, specific needs fluctuate. You are urged to contact Amy Rowell at Cathedral Center to find out what is most needed:
Amy Rowell
414-831-0394 ext. 2127