Donations underway for Warm the Children’s 24th year

Recorder Staff
Published: 10/14/2016 10:25:57 PM

Warm the Children is known across Franklin County as a year-round fundraiser that provides new winter necessities for children in need, and as a charitable staple of the community it serves.

But Warm the Children partnerships, like the local one, are all across the country, with 31 other cities and newspapers participating. The one in Franklin County began 23 years ago, in November of 1993, when a new publisher joined The Recorder and had heard about the idea from other papers.

“The region’s poorest children may soon be bundled in new, warm winter clothing, under a charity program that depends on contributions from local stores, the Salvation Army, and The Recorder and its readers,” the first story explained.

The paper raises money each year through community donations. Once the donations are collected, Wilson’s Department Store purchases the children’s clothing and anti-poverty agency Community Action finds families who would benefit the most from the clothing.

The event comes together every year during three shopping days where the families are scheduled to come pick up what they need and are assisted by volunteer shoppers and additional volunteers who help set up the shopping center at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.

That first year, the paper aimed to collect $20,000 and give clothing to 250 children.

This past year, the paper raised $78,347. The clothing that was bought has now been distributed, and the paper has begun the process of collecting donations for next year’s event.

All of the money goes to the purchase of clothing, and otherwise it is a volunteer operation.

This year, the operation was able to serve about 1,000 children, with each child getting a winter coat, a fleece hoodie, underwear, socks, and pajamas.

Each child gets $80 to $100 worth of clothing, depending on the items they pick out, according to Debbie Daly, the buyer from Wilson’s who organizes the purchase of the clothing.

The goal for next year is to continue what’s already been successful in the past, raising the right amount of money, buying the right items, and making sure the families who get the donations are in need.

Daly takes the information from the previous year to help guide her in purchasing.

“We try to make sure that we buy the right amount so that everybody gets what they came for,” she said.

Daly and Killeen Perras of Community Action have been working together on Warm the Children for the past 10 years. They also have a group of volunteers who are well seasoned and come back each year.

“We’re very proud that it does go so smoothly,” she said. “That’s a credit to our seasoned volunteers.”

To donate to Warm the Children, send a check to: Warm the Children, c/o The Recorder, P.O. Box 1367, Greenfield, MA 01302.

New clothing may also be dropped off at The Recorder, at 14 Hope St., any time during the year.

Miranda Davis covers Gill, Montague and Erving. Reach her at 413-772-0261 ext. 280 or mdavis@recorder.com


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