Every Warm the Children volunteer has their own story

Recorder Staff
Monday, December 04, 2017

Editor’s note: This is another installment of weekly stories about the Greenfield Recorder’s annual Warm the Children charity. Learn about those who benefit and those who make it happen, as this annual fundraiser winds down ahead of the holidays.

GREENFIELD — When Marie Harvey retired from teaching in the Greenfield public schools, her friend and fellow co-worker for years recruited her to volunteer for Warm the Children.

Linda Shaw made sure her friend was going to join her. She knew they would have a good time working together for a good cause.

“I was a teacher in Greenfield public schools for over 30 years, so I’ve seen the need for this,” Shaw said.

Harvey agreed, saying, “I really enjoy the cause,” for the annual clothing drive that the Greenfield Recorder runs in partnership with Wilson’s Department Store and Community Action.

While Harvey followed Shaw’s lead in helping set up for Warm the Children, other volunteers shared their reasons for getting involved with this effort.

“I ended up being a single parent with six kids,” said Drenna Mahaney, who was helping out for her second year. “I never was on this program, but I understood how necessary it was.”

Others, like Susan Corey, have been assisting the clothing drive for more than a decade. Corey said she used to come over to help when she was working at the Franklin County House of Corrections. She would come over to help unpack clothes and lead families through getting clothes for their children, along with other employees. Now that she recently retired, Corey remembered how important the drive has been to families.

“I was a single parent with four kids. We didn’t have things like this,” Corey said. “I think how would these people clothe their children without something like this.”

Sandy Brodie started coming to volunteer with Warm the Children through her church, Our Lady of Peace in Turners Falls. They would knit hats and had seen in The Recorder that the drive might be the right place to donate them. Last year, between five knitters they donated about seven large bags full of brand new hats.

With all of the hats and coats to pick from, Brodie remembers years where young girls would search for the perfect pink to fit their needs.

“You get a satisfaction knowing your knitting is going to help someone who otherwise might not be able to put a hat,” Brodie said. “You can’t send the kids to school without something warm. You just need to help. We’re fortunate that we can help. We feel blessed that we can help.”

For Warm the Children, recipients 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, which created the charity locally, spearheads the fundraising efforts. Together, they operate a store over three days in the fall, which this year happened in September. Now The Recorder is encouraging the community to raise money again, for next year’s winter clothes.

The main fundraising drive begins in September with the clothes from last year’s funds given out well ahead of the winter season. A thousand children get about $80 to $100 worth of clothing each, including items like a winter coat, a fleece sweatshirt, underwear, socks and thermal underwear.

The fundraising campaign ends Dec. 31, although the Recorder accepts donations all year.

How to donate

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 at The Greenfield Recorder, at 14 Hope St., any time.

If you would like to publicize information about fundraisers or share a story, call Joshua Solomon at the Greenfield Recorder at 413-772-0261, ext. 264 or by email: jsolomon@recorder.com