A warmer winter wonderland: Warm the Children provides clothes for 1,100 children annually

  • Yeidhliam Acevedo, 6, tries on a winter coat with the help of her mother, Odalis Arroyo, left, and volunteer Louise Sauter on Friday afternoon during the annual Warm the Children event at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Sarah Skuse fits a knitted winter hat on her son Steve, 2, while his brother Theodore, 3, looks for his own to try on Friday afternoon during the annual Warm the Children event at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Winter hats knitted for the annual Warm the Children event at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Winter coats for the annual Warm the Children event. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Melania Cojan looks through cloths with her daughter Ruth Cojan, 4, during the annual Warm the Children event at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Volunteers Lisa Baronas, left, and Karen McCormack pack up clothes for families to take home during the annual Warm the Children event at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 9/22/2019 9:30:13 PM

GREENFIELD — The Dole Building at the Franklin County Fairgrounds was filled with boxes of clothes — ranging from socks and underwear, to thermals and thick winter coats in all different styles — for the annual Warm the Children event this week.

From Wednesday to Friday, families formed a line, spilling out of the building at the fairgrounds as they waited to “shop” from the free children’s clothes ahead of the coming winter. Each customer traveled the rows and racks of clothes with a volunteer who made sure every child received the allotted clothes: one package of underwear, six pairs of socks, thermal pajamas or a blanket, a hooded sweatshirt, a coat, a hat, and a pair of mittens or gloves.

“We get 1,100 kids a year,” said Killeen Perras, the Warm the Children coordinator for referrals. “I send out to the providers how many slots for customers providers get, and schedule the appointments.”

Perras, who has been working with Warm the Children for 16 years, said the program services up to a hundred customers an hour, at times. A customer’s provider — social worker, school nurse, etc. — tells their customers in advance what time they have been allotted to “shop” at the fairgrounds.

“It’s up to them (the providers) to tell their families what time to come,” Perras said.

Warm the Children was started by the Greenfield Recorder in 1993. The event helps families in need avoid spending money every year on things children need, such as warm clothes. The Recorder coordinates the fundraising drive which, along with the work of volunteers, fuels the charity. Over the past year, the community raised $81,300, and donations for next year are already being collected.

Wilson’s Department Store arranges purchases of winter clothes for children up to age 12. Community Action works with several local service agencies to screen eligible families and set up shopping appointments during the three days when the “shop” is open.

Sheila Peers, an employee of Wilson’s, described preparation for the event as a three-week operation. Wilson’s and suppliers pack up the clothes, bring them to the fairgrounds, set up the “shop” and then break it down.

To donate to next year’s fundraising goal of $90,000, send a check to: Warm the Children, c/o The Recorder, P.O. Box 1367, Greenfield, MA 01302. Also, new clothing may be dropped off at the Greenfield Recorder, 14 Hope St., between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.




Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

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