How Eau Claire businesses and organizations are giving back to the community

Multiple donation drives to take place through the holiday season

More stories from Grace Olson

Student speaks
November 17, 2021

Photo by Submitted

Nonprofit organizations are asking for winter gear and clothing for upcoming donations.

With the holidays starting many Eau Claire businesses and nonprofit organizations created holiday drives to support the community. 

One of those businesses is Tangled Up In Hue, located at 505 S. Barstow St. in downtown Eau Claire. 

Tangled is participating in the “Santa Paws” holiday drive the Eau Claire County Humane Association holds every year, Sarah Hurt, an employee of Tangled, said. 

The ECCHA coordinates with multiple local businesses for this event. Volunteers and employees create ornaments with pictures of the animals who have been adopted and details where the donations are going. 

They then provide local businesses with these ornaments who sell them at their stores. 

Hurt said Tangled hung up their ornaments on their Christmas tree and the registers. They have ornaments available spanning from a $5 donation for food, up to a $100 donation for veterinary bills. 

Hurt said Tangled has participated in Santa Paws ever since she has worked there, and she has now spent five holiday seasons with Tangled. 

The Community Table, a nonprofit organization, is having a few different holiday drives for those in need. 

TJ Atkins, the executive director, said The Community Table has a new partnership this year with Momentum Fitness to put together winter survival bags for the community. 

Atkins said they will also be creating a “holiday in a box” that will include holiday items and food community members can prepare for the holidays. Similarly, they did “Thanksgiving in a box” in November this year. 

Atkins said they have been providing the “holiday in a box” for about three or four years now. 

The Community Table also partners with Pay It Forward, a nonprofit organization that performs “random acts of kindness and senseless acts of generosity since 1999,” according to their website. 

Their partnership with Pay It Forward will provide a Christmas breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m. on Christmas morning. 

Atkins said the organization has made a request for adult hats and gloves because those are items they give out on a daily basis in the cold months. 

They are asking for donations and volunteers of those who are able, Atkins said. 

Hope Gospel, a nonprofit organization that offers “Christ-centered, life changing help to the homeless and needy in Eau Claire and the rest of Western Wisconsin,” according to their website, also has holiday donations this year. 

Brett Geboy, the community relations director for Hope Gospel said they offer a couple community meals around the holidays. They held a Thanksgiving dinner with about 700 meals and are planning a Christmas dinner for Dec. 18. 

Geboy said Hope Gospel has a lot of community partners where multiple different businesses or groups collect personal hygiene items in preparation of Christmas. 

Hope Gospel also holds a sock drive for their residents, something they often need a lot of as well as undergarments, Geboy said. 

The organization is also partnering with a radio station, 99.9 “The Family” to hold a hygiene drive with other nonprofits in the Eau Claire area, in early January. 

Geboy said there’s a lot of moving parts that include coordinated and uncoordinated efforts that help their residents. 

The people Hope Gospel serves are those struggling with addiction, often they come to the organization with just a bag of personal items, so they’re in need of any hygiene items and clothes, Geboy said. 

Hope Gospel also partners with “Toys For Tots” for the children who stay there. So during Christmas time a lot of presents are given to them, as well as gift cards to businesses or individuals donate so residents can buy the things they need, Geboy said. 

“There’s a lot of moving needs we try to meet,” Geboy said. “It’s because of the generosity of the community and businesses that makes it possible.”

Olson can be reached at [email protected].