MADISON -- For the 20th time, an annual collection of blankets and bedding will soon offer some warmth and comfort to Dane County people in need.
Through its 20th annual Recycle the Warmth Blanket Drive, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will ask people around the Madison area to show their concern for local families struggling with poverty.
The society's blanket drive, held annually on January's final full weekend, seeks donated new and gently used blankets and bedding that St. Vincent de Paul then gives away to people in need.
Slated for Friday to Sunday, Jan. 27 to 29, this year's Recycle the Warmth Blanket Drive -- an event unique to Dane County -- will help provide some comfort for thousands of people who seek the society's help throughout the year. St. Vincent de Paul is urging area residents to search their closets -- and use their checkbooks -- to provide blankets and bedding for those needing the warmth many take for granted.
From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Jan. 28, St. Vincent de Paul volunteers will staff Recycle the Warmth collection points at all four Madison-area Shopko stores.
For this drive, Shopko will offer a blanket at a sale price to maximize the buying power of donors who would like to contribute new items. Blankets and other bedding will also be collected at Dane County's six St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores.
About four dozen local religious congregations are expected to collect for the drive on Saturday, Jan. 28, and Sunday, Jan. 29. Donors may contact St. Vincent de Paul at 608-442-7200 for participating places of worship. Congregations taking part will be listed on the society's Web site at www.svdpmadison.org/recyclewarmth.html
Ralph Middlecamp, executive director of the society's District Council of Madison, noted that an economy that remains challenging for those at its margins means the need St. Vincent de Paul sees for blankets and bedding remains high.
"We try to provide three or four blankets per family member when we find this sort of need," he said. "Collecting thousands of blankets through our Recycle the Warmth drive allows us to do that."
Tax-deductible donations of money are also welcome and will help buy blankets and bedding for people in need. Checks may be made payable to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and sent to: Society of St. Vincent de Paul-RTW, P.O. Box 259686, Madison, WI 53725-9686.