While TV ads promote the latest toys and electronics of the holiday season, 226 families in need met volunteer shoppers at Sears in the McKinley Mall to purchase new, warm, winter clothing for their children.  Parents, grandparents and foster parents came from Hamburg, Blasdell, Lake View, Angola, Eden, North Collins, Evans, Derby and Brant.  By mid-December, 524 youngsters had items like jackets, coats, boots, pajamas and sweaters to get them through another cold, WNY winter.

“I’ve never spent $200 all at one time on clothing for my family!” exclaimed one grateful mother.  “The Sears staff was so helpful, kind and nice to the families… in fact the cashier who checked us out was crying as we left, saying that Warm the Children is such a good cause for children in need,” said a longtime, volunteer shopper.
Warm the Children is a program led by the Rotary Club of Hamburg, with assistance from Evans Bank and Sears in the McKinley Mall.  In its 11th year, Rotary works with school districts, agencies like Catholic Charities and Baker Victory, as well as local churches to identify families.
Warm the Children relies solely on the generosity of community members and local businesses for donations.  “100% of all tax-deductible contributions go toward the purchase of new clothing,” emphasizes program coordinator, Elizabeth Angelbeck.  Expenses are covered by the Rotary Club of Hamburg.
This year, the program also aided youngsters whose parents are drug addicted, suffering the effects of opioid and heroin addiction, through a collaboration with Baker Victory.  In addition, Warm the Children supported four families, which were experiencing a Western New York winter for the very first time, having recently arrived from Puerto Rico and countries in Africa.
Although this year’s program has ended, donations to Warm the Children are still being accepted for the 2018 program.  Checks may be made payable to Warm the Children Fund and sent to Evans Bank, 5999 S. Park Avenue, Hamburg, New York 14075.