Retired nurse makes & sells mittens, raises nearly $500,000 for local food pantries

'ReMitts' is this week's Make a Difference Monday

MADISON, Wis.– You’re given $100 and a challenge: Do as much good as you can.

Where would you start?

Janet Tupy, a retired oncology nurse, took on that mission as a personal challenge 11 years ago after she was inspired by a pair of felted wool mittens she found in a gift shop. Tupy, who had not sewn since high school, found a pattern, purchased $100 worth of wool sweaters at a thrift store, and enlisted several friends to help. The women came up with a name, ReMitts, and a goal, to raise $1,000 for local food pantries by making and selling wool mittens.

ReMitts raised $4,000 and ran out of mittens that year.

11 years later, Tupy and her team of two dozen volunteers are on the precipice of a major milestone: raising a net total of $500,000 in donations to Madison-area pantries since 2009. Tupy expects to reach that goal by the end of the year.

But these mitten-making, do-gooders need your help.

Tupy believes ReMitts’ mittens make the perfect holiday gift. You can purchase a pair at dozens of retailers, coffee shops, and restaurants across Dane County for a $35 donation. Click here to find your nearest distributor.

A few facts about the mittens:

Look for the ‘ReMitts’ tag to ensure all proceeds go to the local food pantries.

If you’re a sewer, the organization is also welcoming new volunteers. ReMitts operates out of the lower level of Grace Lutheran Church on Madison’s west side. About 25 volunteers work year-round, making mittens to display and sell during the winter months. St. Vincent de Paul, one of the charities that benefits from the proceeds, donates wool sweaters for sewers to use.

So, this holiday season, take a moment to think: How much good could you do with $100, $35, or even $5?

Where would you start?