NEW BRITAIN - Local community members and organizations are working hard to make sure New Britain children are warmly clothed for the upcoming winter season.
The Warm the Children campaign is a charity program that has clothed over 10,000 children with quality winter clothing since its inception in 2003. For 16 years, the city of New Britain has been involved with the campaign and a federal grant of $15,600 helped gear up the campaign to a powerful start this year.
After just a few weeks of donations, the community has stepped up and donated over $30,800, and all proceeds will go directly to purchasing warm clothes for children between ages three and 10.
Mark Bernacki, city clerk, estimates that the organization will need between $40,000 and $50,000 to clothe roughly 900 children, who are identified by social workers in the New Britain Consolidated School District and the HRA Head Start program. When a child is identified, their siblings ages three to 10 can also get clothing.
Stephanie Frank, a volunteer coordinator with The Lions Club and volunteer shopper, said referral packets were sent off to the New Britain School District and Head Start social workers in October and they have until Nov. 15 to finish submissions.
“I have a few hundred so far and am still waiting for about half the schools to send in their lists,” she said. Frank will also be checking in with the various schools next week to make sure the referrals are all submitted for review.
With no overhead, Warm the Children relies strictly on donations, grants and the volunteers to provide $60 in warm clothing to 700 to 900 city children. For the fifth year in a row, JC Penney at Westfarms mall will be the shopping location where volunteers will take families and their children to shop for clothes.
Around Thanksgiving, volunteer shoppers will begin hitting the mall with families to choose their clothing. Several local groups, including The Good Old Boys, the New Britain Lions Club, the New Britain Elks Lodge 957, and the New Britain Herald, are all involved in different ways to make sure that New Britain children are prepared for the cold months ahead
Donations are needed from now until late December to meet the campaign’s goals.
People can donate by check or credit card by calling The Herald at 225-4601 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Make checks payable to Warm the Children Fund of New Britain and mail to: P.O. Box 1090, New Britain, CT 06050. Anyone who wishes to volunteer can call 860-225-4601.