GENEROUS DONATION Representatives of the American Gift Fund Louise Y. Mokadam Family Foundation present a check for $2,500 to the Rotary Club of Hamburg for the Warm the Children Program. Pictured from left are: Rotarians Earl Knauss and Liz Angelbeck, Bon and Chris Mokadam of the Foundation, and far right, Rotary Club President Dale Stanley accepting the check.



As the Warm the Children Program kicks off this year under the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Hamburg in partnership with the Town of Hamburg Lions Club, The Sun and Evans Bank, organizers are grateful to the American Gift Fund, Mokadam Family Foundation for one of the largest donations in recent history at $2,500. Bon, son of Louise Mokadam, for whom the Foundation is named, and his wife Chris were present at the Oct. 7 meeting of the Rotary Club of Hamburg at J.P. Fitzgerald’s restaurant Oct. 7 to personally present the award to the Rotary Club to benefit the Warm the Children Program.

“We are very grateful to the Mokadam family for this wonderful donation,” said Liz Angelbeck, coordinator of the Warm the Children Program. Their generosity will help us as we raise the amount we are spending on each child in need this year.” The program, in its 19th year based in Hamburg, will ensure that many Southtowns families will be able to have their children dressed appropriately to face the worst of winter’s chill by receiving new warm clothing and outerwear. The families will meet with a volunteer from the program at the Target Department Store in Orchard Park and personally select the brand new winter coats, jackets, mittens, pants and more paid for by Warm the Children.

Thanks to the kindness of donations big and small from hundreds of donors who contribute to Warm the Children, numerous local families will have the opportunity to participate in the program.  Warm the Children is a national program and was introduced locally in 1996 by the editor and publishers of The Sun after learning about it at a New York Press Association convention. It has been supported by the readers of the Sun and the Southtowns community ever since. A former journalist, Mack Stewart founded and launched the program that would partner with local newspapers to provide clothing for families in need. Each newspaper was charged with publicizing the program and drawing support from their readership. Warm the Children was coordinated by Sun editorial staff for a decade, handing over the reins to the Rotary Club of Hamburg in 2007.

The Warm the Children Program aids youngsters in Hamburg, Angola, Blasdell, Derby, Boston, Eden, North Collins, Lake View, Evans and Brant. The Rotary Club of Hamburg coordinates and sponsors the program by collecting and distributing donated funds to buy clothing for families who’ve been vetted by local schools, churches and social agencies. Children age birth to 3 years receive $60 worth of new clothing, while those age 4 to 18 receive $90 worth.

Warm the Children organizers ask that donors consider “sponsoring” a child or children by making a donation of $60 for a younger child or of $90 for an older child, or perhaps by making a combined amount such as $150 for a younger and older child. Last year, over 300 children in The Sun circulation area received warm winter clothing through the Warm the Children program.

Partners in the program with the Rotary Club are the Lions Club of Hamburg, which donates printing and postage costs, The Sun, which donates free advertising and editorial space used to assist the Rotary Club in its drive for donations from its readership and Evans Bank, serving as the program’s fiscal partner.  Integral to the success of Warm the Children are the more than 100 community volunteers who join the effort as shoppers who accompany the families who are served by the program.

“Every cent donated to Warm the Children goes toward the purchase of children’s clothing.  There are no administrative costs, as Hamburg Rotary members do all coordination with assistance from the Lions Club and Evans Bank,” said Angelbeck.

Volunteer shoppers report the experience of helping families select their new clothing is a rewarding one for them as well as for the children and their grateful parents. The need continues to persist with the continuing decline in the nation’s economy, particularly in Western New York. Donations are now being gratefully accepted.  To donate, please make checks payable to Warm the Children and mail them to Evans Bank, 5999 South Park Avenue, Hamburg, New York, 14075. To be a volunteer shopper, please contact Angelbeck at