It’s Fall and the temperature is dropping. Do you know that children without warm jackets, mittens and boots cannot participate in outdoor recess in cold weather?

Warm The Children is a program whose mission is to provide new warm winter clothing for children of families in need. This is accomplished with the cooperative effort of Warm The Children, Inc., a local newspaper, a local nonprofit and volunteer shopping coordinators. In the southern Berkshires, Warm The Children is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Sheffield and The Berkshire Record.

Now in the 11th year sponsoring Warm The Children, Sheffield Kiwanis knows that the number of families in need grows each year. Qualified families are identified by and referred by local schools and social service agencies such as WIC and Head Start. In our area, children eligible for free or reduced-cost school lunches are eligible for Warm The Children.

In 2017 over 200 children were referred and received new winter clothing. Families can purchase jackets, snowpants, boots, mittens, hats, pajamas, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and the like. In the past, even blankets have been purchased for children who need one.

Kiwanis volunteers contact the referred families and explain how the program works and how to shop for their children. The volunteers review the purchases before payment is authorized.

Through generous donations from the community Warm The Children is able to provide up to $80 of new clothing for each child. With careful shopping $80 can go a long way to keeping a child warm in the winter. 100% of every dollar donated goes to purchasing new clothing for children in the Berkshire Hills and Southern Berkshire school districts. Donations are tax deductible. All administrative costs are borne by the Kiwanis Club of Sheffield.

Donations of any amount are welcome. Checks should be payable to Sheffield Kiwanis with Warm The Children in the memo line and mailed to PO Box 683, Sheffield, MA 01257. Contributions can also be made through PayPal or debit or credit card on Kiwanis’ website. You may direct your gift be made in memory of a loved one, in honor of a special event or anonymously.

One little girl summed up the value of Warm The Children when she wore her new winter jacket to school with the price tag still attached. Her teacher asked if she could cut it off for her. The girl replied, “Oh no. This is the first time I’ve ever had a new jacket of my own.” She proudly wanted everyone to know it was new.

You can get more information about Warm The Children and how you can help by going here or contact info@sheffieldkiwanis.org.

(press release sent to WSBS from Sheffield Kiwanis for online and on-air use)