How a local group is paying it forward, one wine basket at a time

MADISON, Wis. – We’re popping the cork on a new week with a bright story. Some of you may have recently received a small gift basket at your door or know someone who has. News 3 Now went searching to find who’s behind it, and it’s sure to leave you with a smile this morning.

Lexi Feldmann, of Windsor, was invited to join the “Wine Down Sisterhood” via Facebook about two months ago. It involves simple acts of kindness to spread love to as many as possible during a time of uncertainty.

“Trying to get together right now is kind of hard for a lot of people, said Feldmann. “School is different. Jobs are different.”

Thousands of folks are now paying it forward, one basket at a time, leaving goodies on the doorsteps of other homes across the area.

“It’s a lot like ding dong dash; get in, get out, and don’t be seen,” Feldmann explained. “It’s nice to see that spot of absolute sunshine for everyone.”

Stephanie Andresen-Stevens founded the Facebook group back in May after she had to temporarily close her small business in Onalaska due to the coronavirus.

“I thought we all needed a little joy back in our lives,” said Andresen-Stevens. “It went from twenty people to thousands literally overnight.”

Now, it spans across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

The idea is like that childhood game Lexi referenced, this is no prank, though, but rather a visit from the “wine-fairies.”

“They are some of the best people you’ll meet on this planet,” Andresen-Stevens said. “They take care of you like we are sisters.”

Lexi was “wined” within two weeks of joining. She then got her sister involved to pay it forward to someone else.

“I ran up to the house, rang the doorbell and then booked it back to my car, and just that little thrill was so much fun,” Feldmann laughed.

Hearing positive stories like that is humbling to Stephanie, when it can be so easy to focus on the bad right now.

“How amazing is it that in the time of fear, and everyone being so scared, that we can actually bring hope and light back into the dark,” she added.

That light is exactly what Lexi, and maybe the rest of us, need.

“This has hit so many people and there’s not a lot of joy or fun things to look forward to so if something as simple as a gift basket, which doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg right now, if that can help it, it’s so worth it,” Feldmann concluded.

People from other parts of the country are now hearing about this, starting similar groups in their areas, too. Stephanie says they’re going to making some fun new challenges in promoting more acts of kindness, as simple as buying coffee or cookie for the person behind you in line.

If you’d like to get in on the movement, just search “Wine Down Sisterhood” on Facebook and ask to join the group.