On November 19th the editorial “Kid’s clothing drive a holiday giving tradition” ran as a beautifully large eye catching piece about the Middletown area Warm The Children project.
Every year The Middletown Press steps up. It provides the Kiwanis Foundation, which administers Warm The Children, with daily ads throughout the season. The ads contain coupons which readers mail in with their much needed donations. The Press publishes the names of donors in appreciation for their contributions throughout the season, and again in a one full page ad at the end of the season. All this free of charge. The Middletown Press’ commitment to our community should be commended.
Readers see articles or commentaries about Warm The Children throughout the season; some submitted by program coordinators like this one, and others like the editorial from November 19th. I’d like to clarify some program highlights.
It’s true the Middletown Kiwanis’ Warm The Children program is funded in large part through Press readers donations. The program is really about neighbors helping neighbors.
It’s a fact that many children from needy families in our community cannot afford to provide the basic warm clothing and footwear for our cold winters. We know this because school staff see it every day. You may see it passing a child at a local school bus stop.
The majority of children referred to Warm The Children come from the public elementary and middle schools in Middletown, Portland, Cromwell, Durham-Middlefield and East Hampton. We also receive referrals from some social service agencies including the Middlesex Family Advocacy Programs, CRT’s Head Start program and the Middletown Adult Ed Even Start program. The school and agency staff select the most needy children in their midst and refer them to Warm The Children. Unfortunately we can’t serve them all – only what we have money to do. The only requirement is that there is a need.
Another important fact is that ALL of your donation money is spent on clothing and footwear for these needy children, nothing is used for administration. Kiwanis Club pays for any administrative costs and the Press donates advertising space.
The majority of our funds come from you, Press readers, in amounts as little as a $1 to as much as $1500.
Each child from birth to age 15 is allotted up to $80 each to spend on clothing and footwear ($40 if under age 2).
There is no paid staff. We have an army of volunteer shoppers. Many may be your neighbors. A shopper receives a purchase order from the Warm The Children coordinator for each family they will help. The shopper contacts the family and arranges a mutually agreeable day and time to meet at the Cromwell Walmart. Once there, the shopper assists the family as they select their own new clothing and footwear. Some of these children have never had new clothing.
Some families have never been served by Warm The Children before and some need our help yet another year. Most of our families don’t have money for Christmas toys. In the past, I know of some that have wrapped at least some of the clothing from their shopping trip and given it to their children as Christmas presents.
Last year we served just over 600 children. This year we expect to reach about 625 children. With your help, next year we’d like to serve 700. The need is there.
Lynn M. BaldoniCoordinator of the Warm The Children program
President Elect – Middletown Kiwanis Club
Donations can be sent to Warm The Children, Liberty Bank, Att: Cindi Whitehouse, 315 Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457