Warm the Children: providing new winter clothing and footwear for families in need

Warm the Children: providing new winter clothing and footwear for families in need

The Essex River Valley Auxiliary and Child and Family Agency of Southeastern CT (a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization) has joined forces with Warm the Children, a program of providing new winter clothing and footwear for our area’s local children and families in need in Old Lyme, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Essex, Centerbrook, Deep River, Chester, Westbrook, Clinton and Killingworth. This program complements the Agency’s mission of promoting the well-being and development of all children and their families, in particular to give priority to the unmet needs of children lacking physical, emotional and intellectual care and nurturing.

Warm The Children began serving the Shore line and the Connecticut River Valley twenty four years ago. Started by Mack W. Stewart, a retired newspaper publisher/editor, it was originally a partnership between a local newspaper and Warm The Children, Inc., his IRS tax exempt charitable organization.  Since 1993 it has served more than six thousand valley and shore area needy children ages infant through high school with over $500,000 in new winter clothing and footwear. All purchases have been at Old Saybrook stores – at first Ames, then Caldor, and finally Walmart.

In the past, the program has been under the stewardship of the Rotary Club of Old Saybrook.  Now, the Essex River Valley Auxiliary of Child and Family Agency will manage all aspects of the program: receive family referrals from town social service offices, receive donations, assign families to volunteer shoppers, and monitor the shopping process. Children accepted into the program receive new warm, winter clothing which parents select with the help of volunteer shoppers who meet them at Walmart.  This year, youngsters ages birth to 3 years will receive $40 worth of new clothing, while those 4 to18 will receive $80 worth. Last year 172 families with 366 children in your local communities were helped through $27,650 of donations and dedicated volunteers.

Along with generous patrons, and our volunteer shoppers, collaborative partners in the program include The Old Saybrook Lions Club, the Shoreline Times, the Valley Courier, and the Harbor News (by donating free space to help us raise contributions from readers). Beebe Miller and Dick Campbell are the program’s fiscal and volunteer coordinators. There are no administrative costs, as the Essex River Valley Auxiliary of Child and Family Agency, the Old Saybrook Lions Club and volunteers provide support coordination. Therefore, 100% of your contribution funds new clothing for children in need.

If you would like to donate, please make your check payable to Warm the Children and mailing it to P.O. Box 603, Essex, CT  06426. You may also contribute online with a credit card at www.childandfamilyagency.org.