Bundle Up!

Cold-Weather Checklist
Keep kids warm when the temperature drops.

Snow Play in Cummington, MA

(c) Sienna Wildfield

When the weather outside is frightful but your child thinks going out is delightful, it’s important to follow a few simple guidelines and know what too much cold looks like and what to do about it. Then you can let him go in the snow, worry-free.  Review Toby Leah Bochan guidelines for keeping kids warm.

In addition to bundling up our own kids at home, there are several ways to help children other than our own keep warm:

FREECYCLE – Seeing as kids grow like weeds, even when it’s cold outside, they outgrow their hats, mittens, jackets and boots nearly every winter season. Places like Hilltown Freecycle are free outlets for local hilltown families to offer their winter warm hand-me-downs. They go directly to the families without much of a “middle person.”  Other Freecyle listservs in Western Mass include Amherst, Greenfield, Holyoke, Northampton, Springfield, and many others.  Click here to find the listserv that serves your locality.

HILLTOWN FAMILIESHilltown Families assists in the distribution of child sized hats to families in need in the hilltowns (click here to read more).  Hats are available to individuals on a first come, first serve basis. To reserve a hat for a child in need, email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.  Hilltown Families also has a local listserv open to local families.  Participants are encouraged to offer their hand-me-downs to other members, organize clothing swaps, and to post resources for families in need.

WARM UP AMERICA! FOUNDATION – A national foundation that has caught the attention of children & adult knitters is Warm Up America! Foundation. Warm Up America! (WUA!) is an organization made up of volunteers who create handmade afghan blankets, clothing and accessories to help those in need. Volunteers donate their time to crochet and knit a 7″ X 9″ rectangle (or more). Sections are either joined by individuals or groups in a community and donated locally or sent to Foundation headquarters for joining and distribution.

The beauty of so many different participants is that a WUA! afghan resembles a patchwork quilt of many colors and textures, just as the participants and recipients represent the varied faces of America.WUA! afghans are distributed to individuals and families in need through community service organizations as well as through chapters of national organizations such as the American Red Cross. Sponsors of WUA! in communities around the country are encouraged to donate completed afghans within their own community in the true spirit of “neighbor helping neighbor.” Agencies to which the Foundation has donated afghans include women’s shelters, children’s hospitals, daycare centers and other community service centers.

WUA! also has a program called Kids Warm Up America! Young people across the country are teaming up with their peers to Warm Up America!, helping others, and in the process are discovering these crafts are fun and relaxing. Kids who participate benefit from providing community service while developing self esteem, problem solving, and math and motor-skill development while participating in an intergenerational activity that is a fun group project and provides the learning of an enjoyable skill that will last a lifetime. Additional ways to keep kids warm outside of our local community are accessible through the Warm Up America! Foundation.

If you know of any additional resources for families to either received or donated (services or articles of clothing) please share them with us in the comment section below.

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