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Posted on Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 10:01 a.m.

Are you an experienced bargain hunter? Warm the Children needs volunteer shoppers

By Ann Dwyer

Do you enjoy the thrill of the bargain hunt? Are you looking for a way to volunteer without making a major time commitment? Do you want to see the joy on a child’s face when they realize they won’t be cold this winter?

Then becoming a Warm the Children volunteer shopper is for you.

Warm the Children is’s campaign to raise money in order to purchase warm clothes and coats for children in need. We rely on volunteer shoppers to use the $90 voucher to get as much as possible per child.

Shoppers work with the families to assess each child’s need. Many families we provide for are facing winter for the first time and don’t realize their child may need snow pants in order to play in the snow.

You won’t need to go far, since WTC serves children in Washtenaw County and part of Livingston County.

Our shoppers value the experience. Last year, volunteer LaRhonda Livingston told that it was a “privilege” to work with the families.

“I love being a shopper. It’s a lot of fun," she said.

To volunteer, visit

If being a shopper isn’t for you, you can still help out by donating. You can feel good knowing every dollar you donate goes directly to buying warm clothes for the children., along with partner United Bank & Trust, absorb all overhead costs.

The Ann Arbor Community Foundation works with WTC as a fiscal partner.

For your convenience, online donations are accepted using the online donation form on the WTC webpage. However, credit card processing fees apply to donations made online.

If you want 100 percent of your donation to go to Warm the Children, download a form at and mail it with a check or money order to Warm the Children c/o United Bank & Trust, P.O. Box 1127, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1127.

United Bank & Trust manages the donations. Those UB & Ts in Washtenaw County serve as a drop off center for donations.

If you need a boost, come to the Community Space at 301 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor for a cup of coffee. For a $1.25 donation, you can get a cup of coffee from some of the great coffee roasters in the area.

Also, be sure to like us on Facebook where we will keep you updated on how your donations have helped those kids in our area.


David Martel

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 2:58 a.m.

Swimmer - thank you for raising these issues. It is important that the community understand the program. The volunteer shoppers are vital to the success of the Warm the Children program.  All shoppers are provided with very specific shopping instructions which provide guidance on how to manage the shopping experience, including how to assist parents in making purchasing decisions that fall with in the allotted budget and ensure that each child receives items that are most needed to keep them warm. It's important the shoppers adhere to these guidelines. All of the shopping takes place at area Target locations.  Target extends an additional 5% discount on all purchases, increasing the $90 allotment to $95. Personal shoppers are instructed to guide the family to spend the allocation on items that have been outlined in the shopper shopping guidelines or that represent something for which the child is in need. While the dollar may go further in a second-hand retail location, these clothes can sometimes represent the only new clothing a child has ever worn and our experience tells us that providing this opportunity can be priceless. Meijer is not a sponsor of Warm the Children. There is no sponsor or advertising relationship with Target that is a result of this program. All of the families that benefit from this program are referred to Warm the Children by social service organizations, and schools as well as churches, hospitals and other organizations that serve children and their families in this area. Warm the Children will serve almost 3,000 children in Washtenaw County and parts of Livingston County this year.  The program is entirely funded by generous donations from our community. All program overhead is absorbed by and it's fiscal partners, The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and United Bank and Trust.

Amy Lesemann

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 2:18 a.m.

So some folks do not want to buy winter clothes for their kids; they'd rather spend the money to help everyone in the family look stylish? - I am sure that happens. It's true that most folks - and I've worked at soup kitchens, places that have provided clothes for kids and adults, and every sort of volunteer organization - want their children and the entire family to look like the rest of the population. When you are financially secure, it's no big deal to shop at Salvation Army and other such places. I do it now because I like a good bargain. But back when I HAD to do it, it was...painful. I felt as if everyone could see inside my empty wallet, and everyone pitied my kids. Nobody wants that feeling. You crave that cute purse because it's a ticket to belonging. Irrational? financially kind of dumb? Sure. And very human.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 12:15 a.m.

Does any back-checking happen on this scheme? I was a volunteer shopper for 2 years on this scheme "helping" maybe 10 familes. Pretty much none of whom were interested in winter clothing for their kids. Those who did go with the winter clothing wanted me to approve sizes way too big for their kids (and I supect not destined to clothe their kids), and several were all "we have snow clothes, we need accesories like this cute purse..... " Also, they get $90/kid/year. This is insane. I'm not poor, but I don't spend this much on winter clothes for my 3 kids. I often buy second hand -kids grow so fast, good-as-new stuff is available for less than $10. I think Warm The Children should stop this craziness. I bet you could outfit a kid for winter very nicely from Value World, Salvation Army and the PTO Thrift Store for about $30. So you could help 3 times the number of children. And that would also weed out the applicants who are not really in it for their children...... But you'd lose your Meijer sponsorship......