Warm the Children donations drop 30 percent from 2011
Donations to the annual Warm the Children drive in Washtenaw County are slower this year, leaving the program at less than half of its goal as it approaches the final days of the campaign.
As of Dec. 18, the program sponsored by AnnArbor.com had collected $109,764 from readers, down from $143,423 a year earlier.
The goal is to raise $250,000 by the end of the year.
“Warm the Children is an incredibly important service we provide to the community, and we have had tremendous support over the years to help thousands of children in need in our area," said Laurel Champion, executive vice president of AnnArbor.com.
"We are grateful for all of our community partners and individuals who give their time and money very generously to help keep these kids warm, and we're optimistic that we'll meet our goal."
The program works with the community to provide new winter clothing for 3,000 kids in the county. Recipients are chosen by social service providers and social workers in Washtenaw County schools.
The children are able to receive $90 in new clothing, which a parent or guardian chooses during a trip to Target with a Warm the Children volunteer.
AnnArbor.com annually sponsors the program, and partners with United Bank & Trust and the Ann Arbor Community Foundation for additional support.
The program started in 1997 at the Ann Arbor News, when reporter Cathy O'Donnell sought to try the national effort in the Ann Arbor community. She told AnnArbor.com in 2009 that she expected it to raise about $40,000 and last a year or two.
But that first year saw readers donate $95,000 - and the program grew and continued, to the point where many thousands of children in the Ann Arbor area have benefitted from the effort. In 2011, 3,066 children were served by the program.
Every dime collected goes towards the charitable efforts. This year's donations will fund the 2013 program, which also will seek to outfit 3,000 children if the funds allow.
If you would like to contribute to Warm the Children, you can mail in the form printed in the newspaper, visit www.annarbor.com/warmthechildren, 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.