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The Sun letter to the editor: A word from Warm the Children

Editor:
Many local families continue to deal with unemployment or underemployment, in this still weak economy. When jobs are eliminated or hours are cut, many families would have to go without or make do with worn out or inadequate outerwear to fight winter’s chill, if not for the Warm the Children Program.

Due to the generous support of readers of The Sun, local families in need throughout the Southtowns will have the opportunity to shop for new, warm clothing at Target Department Store in Orchard Park, once again. In its 18th year based in Hamburg, Warm the Children helps youngsters in Hamburg, Angola, Blasdell, Derby, Boston, Eden, North Collins, Lake View, Evans and Brant.

Since 2007, the program has been sponsored and coordinated by the Rotary Club of Hamburg, which collects and distributes donated funds to buy clothing for families who’ve been referred by local schools, churches and social agencies; 40, in all. As of Nov. 4, 119 families with a total of 330 youngsters had been referred to Warm the Children. Each child accepted into the program receives brand new clothing, which parents select with the help of volunteer shoppers who accompany them to Target. Children age birth – 3 years receive $50 worth of new clothing, while those age 4 – 18 receive $80 worth.

Warm the Children has been able to thrive in the Southtowns, through the support of the former and current publishers of The Sun, H&K Publications and Metro Group Inc., the staff of The Sun and the strong support of the Southtowns community.

When I was editor of The Sun in the spring of 1996, I attended a convention of the New York Press Association and I was particularly touched by a speaker who was a former journalist. He had launched a program that would partner with local newspapers to provide clothing for families in need. The papers would publicize the program and draw support from their readership.

The speaker’s name was Mack Stewart and the program was Warm the Children. I became a believer and took Mack’s message to my publishers, who agreed the program was exemplary and deserved their support. Sun editorial staff carried the program through the years, not even sidetracked by the eventual change in ownership of the newspaper from H&K to Metro.

To their great credit, after coordination of Warm the Children was turned over to the Rotary Club of Hamburg, the Metro Group agreed to continue to support the program.

As a member of the Rotary Club, I am pleased to assure you that all donations go directly to purchase clothing for children. “Every cent donated to Warm the Children goes toward the purchase of children’s clothing. There are no administrative costs, as Hamburg Rotary members do all coordination with assistance from Evans Bank,” says Liz Angelbeck, another member of Hamburg Rotary, who coordinates the program.

As of Nov. 13, donations of $2,380 had been received. Rotary hopes to raise $25,000 this year, to serve as many children as possible. Partners in the program include The Sun and Evans Bank, serving as the program’s fiscal partner.

To donate, please make checks payable to Warm the Children and sent to Evans Bank, 5999 South Park Ave., Hamburg, NY 14075. If you would like to volunteer to accompany a family next year, contact Liz at curley175@verizon.net.

Eileen Hotho
Hamburg
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