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Posted on Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Donations to Warm the Children need a boost in Washtenaw County

By Angela Smith

Editor's note: The amount raised this year has been corrected in this article.

This year Dr. Mitch Kaplan will make a $2,000 donation to Warm the Children. He’s made a $2,000 donation annually for the past 9 years, since opening his periodontics practice in Ann Arbor. “Nine years ago, as a staff we picked Warm the Children to donate to in honor of our dental colleagues,” Kaplan explains.

warm the children

Each year his office sends holiday cards to local dentists telling them that the donation was made in their honor. “We continue to do it because it’s something nice for the community, and it’s a good cause.”

Dr. Kaplan’s donation is one of many that Warm the Children relies on each year, but this year donations are coming in slower.

The Warm the Children Program has seen a decline in donations across Washtenaw County for the 2012 season.

But it’s not unique to Washtenaw County. Warm the Children is a program that is sponsored in different communities by news outlets throughout the nation. sponsors Washtenaw County efforts. Middletown, Conn., home of Warm the Children’s founder Mack Stewart, also reports that donations are coming in slowly.

And it’s not unique to Warm the Children. In Washtenaw County, both the Salvation Army and Food Gatherers Rockin' for the Hungry fundraiser are seeing a slip in donations this year.

Each year Warm the Children works with the community to provide new winter clothing for 3,000 kids in the county. sponsors the program annually and covers all overhead costs. Every dime collected goes towards the charitable efforts. And every contribution helps the program work towards its goal.

Jill Tewsley, an employee, has helped manage the Warm the Children Campaign for the past 3 years.

“Even though donations are on the decline, the need this year is even greater,” Tewsley said. Though the weather is only starting to get cold, the recipients typically spend the stipend on more than just coats and gloves — warm pajamas, footwear, and other essentials also can be part of the $90 purchase order.

“For over a decade the community has embraced this program and donated generously. We are still in great need, and there is still time to give.”

The fundraising goal for 2012 goes unchanged from the year prior, $250,000. This year’s total through Nov. 21 was $69,248.38. Donations are collected through the end of the year.

The funds for this year’s recipients were raised during last year’s season. If this year’s goals are not met, it may impact the number of children who are served in the winter of 2013.

Donating is easy. You can mail in the form printed in the newspaper, go to the form here, or call the Warm The Children hotline at 734-623-2525. Donations also are accepted at any United Bank and Trust branch in Washtenaw County.

If your business or organization is looking for a special way to give back to the community this holiday season, consider supporting Warm the Children. We would love to hear about innovative ways that local groups raise funds for this worthy cause.



Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

For years, I have shopped with many families referred to the Warm the Children program. I am disheartened to see the negative comments about the families that are selected and wanted readers to know that it has NEVER been my experience to shop with families that are not in need of warm new clothing for their children. In fact, the trend that is more pronounced this year than ever is that although both parents work and yes many are two parent families, they still are unable to provide needed clothing for their kids. Who are we as a people when we are bitter about helping children and families who might be struggling?


Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 3:58 a.m.

"Tony Gillum, Toys for Tots program coordinator for Washtenaw County, told Saline Patch that monetary and toy donations are down roughly by 50 percent nationally from last year." Angela, who's your psychic medium? Tony Gillum died last summer.

Angela Smith

Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 7:47 a.m.

That comment was made prior to his death, my apologies. The story has been updated to remove it.

Little Patience

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 9:36 p.m.

Do they take donations of gently used coats/hats/boots, etc.?

Cindy Heflin

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

Warm the Children has defined its mission as providing new clothing, boots and shoes to needy children. To fulfill that mission, cash donations and volunteers are accepted. However, many area agencies accept used clothing. Among them area the Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop and Downtown Ann Arbor Kiwanis Club.

Jim Mulchay

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

I clicked on your form link and received the following message - " Page Not Found We're sorry but either the page cannot be found or there is system error." - this was about 11:30am on Sunday 12/16;

Cindy Heflin

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

The link has now been fixed. Thank you.


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

Maybe they need to cut the stipend down to $50.00, which can purchase a very nice coat and a pair of boots if people use the money responsibly and look for sales. I would also give the families the option of shopping resale if they want their stipend to stretch further.

Silent Skeptic

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 3:57 p.m.

I agree wholeheartedly with zip the cat. I also used to donate but decided to save my hard earned money when I realized the people I was supporting drove nicer cars and wore nicer clothes than I do.


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 9:48 p.m.

And this realization came to you how?

zip the cat

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

I for one think that those running this program need to screen the parents of the children in need. I used to give every year,but quit when I saw a so called family in need if winter clothes get into there very new black caddy escalade.

Cindy Heflin

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

Warm the Children works closely with area school and agency social workers who refer families into the program. School referrals are based on eligibility for the schools' free and reduced lunch program. believes these social workers are uniquely qualified to make the referrals.