Warm The Children’s Roots in Hamburg, NY, by Eileen Hotho
Through the generous support of the greater Hamburg community and a unique charitable program called Warm The Children, thousands of local families in need have received brand new warm winter clothing to fight winter’s chill since 1996. One thing that sets this program apart from other clothing drives is that the families and volunteers are active participants who shop together to tailor the purchase to each individual child’s needs. In its 27nd year based in Hamburg, Warm The Children serves families in Hamburg, Angola, Blasdell, Derby, Boston, Eden, North Collins, Lake View, Evans, Brant and portions of Lackawanna and Orchard Park.  If the area sounds like a newspaper circulation area, that was no accident. In fact, it is by design.
The Sun newspaper launched the drive in 1996. I know the details intimately because I was the editor when Warm The Children took shape. While at a convention of the New York Press Association I was particularly touched by a speaker who was a former journalist. He had launched a program that would partner with local newspapers to provide clothing for families in need in their own backyard. The papers would publicize the program and draw support from their readership.  He was recruiting more newspapers throughout New York to join him. The speaker’s name was Mack Stewart and the program was Warm The Children. I became a believer and took Mack’s message to my publishers, who agreed the program was exemplary and deserved their support.
Since 2007, the program has been sponsored and coordinated by the Rotary Club of Hamburg, which collects and distributes donated funds to buy clothing for families who’ve been referred by local schools, churches and social agencies.
As a member of the Rotary Club of Hamburg, I am pleased to assure you that all donations go directly to purchase clothing for children. Every cent donated to Warm The Children goes toward the purchase of children’s clothing.  There are no administrative costs, as Hamburg Rotary members do all coordination with assistance from Evans Bank and pick up expenses such as postage or thank you cards.
Partners in the program are Walmart on Southwestern Blvd. in Hamburg and Evans Bank, serving as the program’s fiscal partner. To donate, please make checks payable to Warm The Children and send to Evans Bank, 5999 South Park Avenue, Hamburg, New York, 14075 or donate online at the Donate Here link located on this page. Donations received at the end of one season are used to fund the next.  To volunteer to accompany a family next year, contact Liz Angelbeck at lizangelbeck@gmail.com