Warm the Children puts parents at ease 

  • Volunteer Anita Kimball of Greenfield helps Teresa Hassay of the Parent Child Development Center shop for a client at the Warm the Children distribution center at the Franklin County Fairgrounds. RECORDER STAFF/PAUL FRANZ

Recorder Staff
Published: 10/21/2016 11:15:06 PM

Heather Cormier isn’t sure what she would do without Warm the Children.

Cormier and her husband Stevie Sluder have four children between the ages of 13 and 2, and found out about Warm the Children five years ago through the local WIC office.

She said the program is a blessing for her family.

They originally signed up for the program when Sluder lost his job and the family fell on tough times.

The family is grateful for this type of program and how much it has helped them over the last five years.

Cormier said that providing her children with winter necessities would cost them hundreds of dollars that the family just doesn’t have. Now, the family just has to make sure the children have snow boots, and they are ready for winter.

She said the program is more than just making sure kids are warm, but that they have nice quality items that they like.

The event is sponsored by The Recorder, Wilson’s Department Store and Community Action and funded through community donations. Children are selected by Community Action, a nonprofit that helps support lower income families. Wilson’s provides clothing racks and purchases the clothing with the donations, and The Recorder spearheads the fundraising effort and orchestrates the whole campaign.

This was the first year Cormier wasn’t able to do the shopping herself, so, Becky Craig, a community center organizer at the Greenfield Housing Authority, went to the shopping days and got the clothing.

Cormier said Craig went above and beyond and even talked to her children about what kind of clothing they wanted. She said her 2-year-old daughter couldn’t decide between a pink or purple snowsuit, so Craig found one that was a mix of both colors.

“It means peace of mind for us, and one less thing we have to worry about,” she said.

Killeen Perras, who has been one of the organizers for Warm the Children for the past 10 years said the families that the programs serve make it all worth it.

“Many families who benefit from this program are struggling with just day to day situations and completely overwhelmed,” she said. “This program for many reasons is very near and dear to my heart.”

The Warm the Children shop is set up at the Franklin County Fairgrounds, where volunteers assist families in need as they pick out winter necessities for their children. Families are selected for the program through local schools and organizations that help families and combat poverty in Franklin County.

Perras said about 52 agencies get a certain number of “slots” each, and those organizations choose the families that are the most in need.

The Recorder will carry weekly stories about the progress of this year’s drive and the people helping and helped over the next several weeks. If you have stories to tell about Warm the Children or are planning fundraisers, let us know so we can help promote them by contacting Miranda Davis at 413-772-0261, ext. 280 or mdavis@recorder.com.

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.


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