HELP OUR WPS STUDENTS!
By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee
Many organizations, year after year, have helped provide new winter coats and outerwear for low-income Worcester kids: Hanover Insurance Group, DCU for Kids, Mechanics Hall, Teamsters Local 170, Spring Street School in Shrewsbury and numerous departments within the University of Massachusetts and UMass Memorial. Also: the Family Medicine and Community Health program at UMass Medical School supports COATS FOR KIDS.
As one of the employees from the Department of Family Medicine at UMass stated last year, “We love the project and hope that people continue to be as generous as they have in the past.”
You can see Elizabeth Vecchio, coordinator for the Worcester Public Schools, face light up with enthusiasm when she talks about this incredible program. She said, “This program provides new warm outerwear to Worcester children in need. It fosters comfort and confidence within the child.” She went on to say that the number one way to break the cycle of poverty is through education. These new coats help children attend school more often on cold and rainy days.
But for those children receiving a new coat or outerwear, it can be much more than just warmth. It can inspire happiness and improve peer acceptance, self-respect, school attendance and over-all wellness. “Keeping children healthy and warm throughout the cold winter months can changes lives,” Mrs. Vecchio said.
Hopefully, I have your attention on this most important project. So, what can Worcesterites or local businesses do to support this amazing cause? Here are a few suggestions:
🎅 Shop for new winter outerwear – coats, hats, mittens and drop it off at the Durkin Administration Building, Irving Street, Room 008 – to Mrs. Vecchio or at the security guard’s station as one enters.
❤ Volunteer to unpack and pack coats for distribution.
👬 Sponsor a Coat Drive at your business or organization.
🌲Lead a drive at your place of employment and get others involved in helping out!
🍎Make a monetary donation. Make your check payable to the WEDF and mail it to Worcester Educational Development Foundation, Inc., 210 Park Ave., suite 224, Worcester, MA 01609.
The outerwear in the schools is given out by the principals after the school fills out a “Request Form” for their students in need.
According to Mrs. Vecchio, the district has a volunteer day where hundreds of pieces of winter clothing/coats etc are bagged for pick-up by the school. The program runs from November through February, so requests are filled on an on-going need throughout the winter months. In addition, many of the items are delivered before the holiday as a much-needed Christmas gift to the students and families.
As we look forward to the holiday season, let us assist with this program. Remember, this wonderful act of kindness is taking place within our community! Please reach out and help our students in need. I know I will!