ReMitts donates proceeds from its recycled mitten sales

By Caroline Szachnowski | Photographed by Elle Duncombe-Mills

When Janet Tupy founded ReMitts, she could only hope that turning old sweaters into mittens would raise thousands of dollars to help feed the needy in Dane County.

In 2015, the volunteer group raised $40,000 in cash donations for food pantries in the community.  Tupy says she founded ReMitts because supporting food pantries is a cause that crosses political and social barriers.

“I wanted a cause that everyone could rally around,” Tupy says. “Virtually everyone views supporting the hungry as a worthwhile cause. If we, the local people, don’t reach out and offer assistance to the hungry in our local community, then who will?”

ReMitts volunteers meet every week in work groups, where they felt the sweater wool and cut it to size, then handcraft the patterns into toasty mittens.  Their products are displayed in local coffee and gift shops and can be had for a suggested donation of $30 to $40.  This year’s batch will be in stores starting in November and will include fingerless mittens for the first time. All of the proceeds are donated to St. Vincent DePaul food pantry, Middleton Outreach Ministry and The River Food Pantry.

ReMitts volunteers are definitely passionate about the cause, which has raised $175,000 since it was founded in 2009.

Volunteer Kit-Yin Ling, who is known among the group for her beautiful embroidery that, on occasion, can hide a flaw, says the mittens have increased in quality since the group was founded in 2009. And that’s good for sales.

Plus, she says she enjoys working with the other women, most of whom are retired.

“I was always somebody who thought ‘what can I do to help others?’” Ling says.

“Ever since I started here I have fun and I’ve made friends and it’s for a very good cause.”


Find ReMitts products at select Barriques and St. Vincent de Paul Madison-area locations, Clasen’s European Bakery, Coffee Gallerie, Duwayne’s Salon, Frugal Muse and Klein’s Floral and Greenhouse, all in Madison, along with Crossroads Coffeehouse in Cross Plains and Phoebe’s Nest in Mineral Point.

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