What Is Warm The Children?
The Warm The Children program provides new basic and warm winter clothing and footwear for children in need, ages birth through age 15, in the greater Middletown area.
The families are referred to us by various sources including the public elementary & middle schools in Middletown, Portland, Cromwell, East Hampton and Regional School District 13 Durham-Middlefield, CRT’s Head Start, Middletown Adult Education’s Even Start, as well as social service agencies including Middlesex Hospital’s Family Advocacy programs. We do not take individual requests.
Based upon funding availability, Warm The Children establishes the number of children to be served during the upcoming winter season. Each agency/school is then given an allotment of referrals they can make for the season.
Once the school/agency teams have identified the children of families with the greatest need, information regarding Warm The Children is sent home to the parent/guardian. If they consent to participate in the program, the school/agency contact provides Warm The Children with the parent/guardian contact information and the name(s) and age(s) of the child(children) to be served.
The Warm The Children coordinator receives the information and issues a purchase order for each family to be served. The family is then assigned to one of about 170 Warm The Children volunteer shoppers.
The volunteer shoppers contact their assigned family and subsequently meet the parent/guardian at Walmart in Cromwell. Together they shop for new clothing (up to $80 per child*, under age 4 up to $60*). The parent/guardian will take the clothing/footwear home, and Warm The Children is then billed by Walmart.
*Note the dollar amounts per child are reviewed yearly for any adjustments deemed necessary.
The Warm The Children program in the Middletown area was established in 1992 by Middletown Press publisher Mack Stewart. The Middletown program was one of about 30 Warm The Children chapters contained within its own 501c(3). The Middletown Kiwanis provided support in the form of donations and volunteers to the Middletown chapter. In 2008, The Kiwanis Foundation was recognized as a 501(c) (3) and, as such, became the sponsor of the Warm The Children program for the Middletown area.
The Middletown Press has been a supporting partner, in that every year, they provide free ad space in the newspaper explaining the program and the need for funding. The ads include information on how a reader can send in a donation of any amount. The Middletown Press also prints the names of the donors in later ads. The Press ads account for the majority of our fund raising dollars.
With the 2015 season, The Chronicle, has also become a supporting partner providing free ad space in their monthly publication.
All donations and grants to Warm The Children are used to purchase new clothing. There is no payroll; the program is all volunteer, and any incidental costs, such as postage for thank you letters, are paid for by the Middletown Kiwanis Club.