LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Some shoppers at the Valley View Mall stopped at a gift wrapping table Sunday where all donations went to Santa's Mission.
It's a local organization that helps the Warming Center, an overnight shelter on West Avenue in La Crosse for people who are homeless.
The center is very short in supplies this year.
"I think all of us need to realize that we are probably not as far from being on the streets as we may think," said Robert Bailey, director of Santa's Mission. "They said the average family is only three paychecks away from homelessness."
All donations will go toward food, hand warmers, even flashlights for people staying at the warming center.
"Last year, as I'm sure people in La Crosse may remember, we had a person killed crossing the street leaving there in the morning, and we had another person freeze to death on the pavement," Bailey said.
The first night Bailey worked at the warming center this year, there was no juice, no bread and only one quart of milk for 15 people, he added.
"This is a time of year where people try to donate much more than any other time of the year, and I think it reminds everybody of what giving is good for and how it helps everybody," said Jessica McAlear who donated to Santa's Mission after getting her holiday gifts wrapped.
Every week Bailey volunteers at the warming center and sets aside part of his pay check to help the people staying there.
People who also want to help can send a donation to Santa's Mission at Mayo Credit Union, 605 West Avenue, La Crosse, WI 54601.
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