Tag Archives: warm the children



each year

i happily take part

in a wonderful program

to help warm the children.

through the generosity of the local community

money and time are donated

to provide new warm clothing for children in need.

children are referred

 by school counselors and social workers.

these families meet with volunteer shoppers

to help with the process.

all of the money raised

goes directly to purchasing clothing,

with no administrative costs

subtracted from the donations.

i am one of the volunteers who take the families shopping

and never fail to be amazed by the people i meet.

on my shopping trip this year

i met a single mother whose husband had died

raising sons, 12 and 16

supporting them by working at mcdonald’s,

her oldest son works at taco bell

 she’s had a rough time of things lately

extra money has been harder to come by

both sons are in school, play football, and do chores at home.

when i asked how she was able to do it all

she told me, “life goes up and down. you just do what you have to do.”

 after we shopped for her sons’ winter clothing

we made our way to the register.

 just ahead of us in line

 another family was checking out

who were also program recipients.

after being rung up, it was discovered

that they had gone just a bit over their allotted budget

and were going to have to put something back.


the mother i had shopped with

reached into her purse

and gave them the $1.89 they needed.

what an incredibly generous act of compassion

from someone who had so little herself

as she helped someone else to warm their children

when we checked out and went to leave

she hugged me and said,

“thank you so much, i always pay it forward.”


“to keep a warm heart in winter is the real victory.” 

-marty rubin

participating partners: kiwanis club of ann arbor, washtenaw county, walmart, mlive, old national bank, ann arbor news


warm the children


ImageIf the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it. – Lucy Larcom

she came flying in, like a whirlwind, hurricane esmerelda, her 5 small children in tow. the weather had taken a sudden turn for the worse, putting forth a tremendous downpour and winds and thunder and lightning. we were meeting at a store to buy winter clothing for her family. as part of a local program, warm the children, members of my community meet others who are in more challenging circumstances, and through donations, we are able to get together to purchase what is needed for their children.  

when we had tried to speak on the phone, it was clear esmerelda only spoke spanish, and i enlisted the help of our school spanish teacher to set up the meeting. i brought a friend who had visited nicaragua and had a bit of spanish in her pocket, along with her daughter, who was at my very basic level of speaking spanish. i imagined that we all would figure it out and somehow accomplish our mission. 

she had somehow gone to the wrong store and was late and worried, and rushed over when we figured out what happened. the children were all quite young, one still small enough to sit in the seat of the cart. only one of the children spoke a bit of english and as we made our way through boots, hats, mittens, snow pants, coats and jammies,  my friend somehow was able to call up her ’emergency spanish’ and helped when we had a question. her daughter was able to help some of the children to make choices and find sizes and luckily, i could remember colors and numbers in spanish. (even though i slipped into french at times) 

somehow we were able to find all that we needed for each of them, filling two carts, and the children happily picked out clothes in the colors they liked. the only boy in the family, lit up with a smile when shown spiderman mittens, and the girls helped each other try on and make final choices. they were very well behaved through it all, and it was easy to see that each of them had taken on a role of responsibility for themselves and each other at an age way before most children would ever have to. 

we kept everyone moving, making sure we didn’t lose anyone along the way, and before we knew it, we were checked out and headed outside. a tornado watch had been issued and it somehow seemed appropriate with all of the energy we had whipped up on this shopping trip. we helped the family back to their van, keeping an eye on the gaggle of young children, and as we left, we hugged and said adios, all with tears in our eyes and smiles on our faces. it was a wonderful morning. 


 A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. William Arthur Ward