The community Christmas tree in Superior’s Center City Park was decorated with new ornaments New Year’s Day.
Two hats were nestled on a branch. A colorful pair of mittens hung from another, with a red scarf tucked in below. Warm winter gear was threaded through the open ironwork of the park archway and placed at bus shelters along Tower Avenue.
The items were collected by the Ruth House, a sober drop-in center and night warming center for the homeless in Superior. The gifts of warmth, most of them community donations, were scattered through the area on Jan. 1.
“We’re just taking it one step further and getting it to the people we know are going to need it,” said Faye Livangood, treasurer for the Ruth House, a nonprofit, nondenominational ministry of Walking Victorious.
The mittens, hats and scarves were left on fences, trees and benches, a gift to anyone who needs them.
“We go under the bridges and in garages, around other churches, Lincoln Park,” Livangood said. “A lot of our folks guide us where to go.”
This is the third year Livangood has taken part in the New Year’s Day Hung with Love distribution. Ruth House volunteers also distributed hats, mittens and scarves on Christmas Eve this year. Livangood saw the gifts make an impact for one family that day.
“I was driving past the big tree and I saw a mom and a dad and a little person taking (winter gear),” she said.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported in October that there were 18,854 students identified as homeless by Wisconsin public school districts during the 2017-18 school year, based on figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and state Department of Public Instruction.
According to the most recent one night point-in-time count, there were 4,538 homeless adults and children in Wisconsin. The next count, which tracks the number of homeless in shelters and on the streets, is set for Jan. 22.