Some might call me naive for believing that a little boutique marketing firm located in Downtown Kenosha could inspire change that ripples around the country and beyond, but our recent Thanksgiving project made me believe that we can.
After the Halloween snowfall, record breaking cold hit Kenosha in early November that inspired the Dooley team to brainstorm a project to help those in our community not yet prepared for the cold or in need of some assistance staying warm this winter.
What many have already forgotten or maybe simply missed was that a man froze to death on a bench in Kenosha last winter. It’s heartbreaking to think that a man in a community of one-hundred thousand citizens couldn’t find help to get warm; so we believed we could do something to prevent that from happening again.
During our brainstorm we remembered a warming tree from Milwaukee. It was simple: free mittens and scarves hanging on a tree. We quickly determined we could pull that off and a few emails to the city later we obtained approval for a tree in Veterans Memorial Park. We chose this location because we can see this park from our office, it’s close to public transportation and is a neighborhood without a homeless shelter.
From there we started a social media campaign to ask for donations so we could replenish the tree all winter and our office had a team scarf making party. The day after we filled the tree we watched as people circled the tree with interest, and soon empty hooks appeared. We knew people were taking items to keep warm! Our hearts melted.
The night we launched the tree we could not prepare for what was going to happen next. A post on Downtown Kenosha’s Facebook page about our tree started blowing up with shares, interactions and comments. I was up until 11pm responding to inquiries and by morning we had an organic reach of over eighty thousand! We had comments in other languages and people commenting about starting trees in other states! To date that post has a reach of 141,800, it has been shared 1,740 times, and the engagement continues. In addtion, we were also tapped by the Shalom Center to kickoff a second tree at their soup kitchen.
Each weekday a different member of our team refills the Downtown tree; and each day on my way to work I drive by to check the inventory and if I know cold temps are in the forecast I’ll make a special trip to fill it.
My dream would be for Kenosha and surrounding communities to all have a warming tree in every neighborhood. Who’s ready to help me?
On February 11, Miss Zarletti’s 4th grade class from Bose Elementary took a field trip to Dooley & Associates and delivered 300 warm items for the Warming Tree, including many handmade hats and headbands.The kids taught themselves to make these items after hearing about the warming tree and also started a collection at the school to help fill the tree!
“Thank you for kindness and welcoming ways! My class loved their time there and Avah even completed that hat on the bus. We look forward to continuing our relationship and exploring the possibilities! I teach many subjects, however my most important job is to teach kindness, empathy and love through leadership opportunities.
Knowing that these little leaders have opportunities to enter the workforce where companies like yours operate with similar values is heartwarming. I acknowledge your leadership and you commitment to kindness in Kenosha. It matters."