Local Knitter Goes Above and Beyond for Whitewater; Mitten Tree Collection Continues Through 12/20

Dottie is rarely found without her needles!


Submitted by Jeanine and Rick Fassl, Co-Chairs of the Optimist Mitten Tree Project

Dottie Koenitzer has been knitting most of her life. She says she loves knitting and keeping her hands busy while watching TV. For nearly 20 years, she has been generously obtaining yarn from friends, family, rummage sales and resale shops to keep those hands moving. The UW-W/Community Optimist Club has been the grateful recipient of tens of dozens of pairs of her exquisitely beautiful mittens for our annual Mitten Tree project. In 2015, she donated 38 pairs of mittens, in 2016 she donated 35 pairs, in 2017, it was 85 pairs and this year, she graciously donated 105 pairs of the most beautiful hand knit mittens anyone would love to wear. That’s a total of 263 pairs in just the last 5 years!

Jeanine Fassl, on behalf of the Optimist Club, accepts the 105 pairs of handmade mittens from Dottie Koenitzer.

Her commitment to our Mitten Tree project has helped us keep our school children, families in fire disasters, and community members in need, warm and cozy over these many years.

She does it to make sure no one has to go without during our typically cold Wisconsin winters. She has agreed to get them to where they are needed whether it’s at our schools or other places that help those in need.

Although the project is known as the Mitten Tree Project, in partnering with the Whitewater Unified School District, the past several years have seen needs in other areas arise where each school building has “comfort stations” to assist a child in whatever issue comes to find them without socks, underwear, boots, hats, or scarves. So, when you see those little “mitten trees” at Young Auditorium, Associated Bank, First Citizens State Bank, or PremierBank, Fort Community Credit Union or First English Lutheran Church, stop by and add to the collection, knowing your gift to help out someone in our community stays in our community. Last year, we had a couple families affected by tragic fires in December and were able to also help all of them as they rebuilt their lives.

A great big THANK YOU to all who have made contributions so far. The collection continues through Dec. 20th, so there’s still time to add items to help those in need throughout the year. If you’d like more information about this project or how you can become a member of the UWW/Community Optimist club, contact Jeanine or Rick Fassl at fasslj@uww.edu .

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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