NEW BRITAIN - New Britain children are feeling the holiday warmth as the Warm the Children campaign heats up by clothing nearly 750 children and passing the $40,000 donation mark.
As of the end of this week, a little over $40,000 has been donated to the campaign and organizers are hoping the numbers will continue to climb as Christmas gets closer.
Volunteer shoppers took families and their children to the JC Penny at Westfarms mall throughout Thanksgiving week to make sure the children will be warmly clothed during the winter. Stephanie Frank, a volunteer coordinator with the New Britain Lions Club and volunteer shopper, said she went shopping with a fellow volunteer, Francine Austin, and took eight families early Thanksgiving week. She said the experience went well and hopefully all the volunteer shoppers will be able to get their shopping done in the next week or two.
Frank also expects that as the weeks go by, they will receive individual donations made to each school so the social workers can take kids in need to go shopping after the event.
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. A federal grant of $15,600 helped gear up the campaign this year. 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.
The Elks Lodge is also having a pasta dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday as a fundraiser to help with the campaign. It costs $12 and includes pasta with homemade sauce, sausage, garlic and Italian bread and salad. Reservations are required by signing up at the lodge or calling 860-223-2027.
Mark Bernacki, city and town clerk, estimates that the campaign 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.
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.
Donations are needed from now until late December to meet the campaign’s goals.
You 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.