This was originally published in The Record.
I found it ironic that no sooner than summer turned to fall this week. a co-worker was outside our building on a 70 degree day getting a tractor mounted with a small plow ready for winter. And none-to-soon, because we all know the weather follows no calendar when determining when to blanket the region with the white stuff; the first snowfall could be just a few weeks away.
Sue Chasney is another individual on our staff who could be found thinking about winter this week as well. In addition to her role in our newsroom, Sue is returning as coordinator of our Clothe the Child program, now its 35th year. The effort, which raises money to buy winter clothing for children from needy families, requires some planning as we head into the final quarter of the year.
The program is pretty straightforward. The Record raises money from the community to purchase the clothing. Some 30 organizations bring forward the names of prospective recipients. The groups – from area schools to non-profits such as Unity House - also help solicit volunteers to help recipient families shop at discount department stores. Currently, the spending limit is $100 per child.
The program’s impact is bigger than one might think. Some parents tell Sue the clothing is the only “present” the child will receive that holiday season. A child’s self-esteem gets a little boost when they go back from winter break wearing brand new clothes like the kids from better-off families. Teachers tell us kids do come to school inadequately dressed to protect them from the cold and these clothes do help. And shopping volunteers return year-after-year because they enjoy witnessing the impact of their gesture – and that of the donors - on these young lives.
We haven’t created an exact tally – maybe someday we will – of all the children impact and funds raised over the years. But we do know that local residents have given many hundreds of thousands of dollars to this cause. That Clothe the Child has impacted thousands of families. And that 100 percent of all monies received have gone to purchase clothing; administrative costs are borne by The Record.
Recently we received our largest donation ever, a gift of stock and cash from an estate worth approximately $24,000. In addition, the Troy Turkey Trot has named Clothe the Child a named charity for the second consecutive year. And we know we can count on organizations such as R.P.I.; for years, students, faculty and staff have held countless fundraisers for the cause.
But we do need more help. If your club, workplace, classroom, fraternity or sorority, scout troop, church or family is looking to raise money for a good cause, we would ask that you keep Clothe the Child in mind as the holidays approach. Jars of pennies, spare change from bottle drives, large checks and small denomination bills are all welcome and all have a real impact.
Folks who are seeking winter clothing should contact a local social service agency for more information on how they can be considered for the program; The Record does not accept applications. We do accept donor questions, however. For more information, contact Sue Chasney at 270-1280.