Over several years, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford (CCGM) has hosted a Stocking Stuffer mixer for members to fill stockings for underprivileged children. During the past two years, Coldwell Banker has joined CCGM and expanded the outreach by offering their Annual Gift Drive for Milford families. In addition to providing gifts for local children, the effort aims to help provide items such as sleeping bags and clothes for children considered homeless in the Milford School District.
Defined as a child that does not have a permanent address, the Milford School District identified 127 children last year that were living in a transitional stage of residency. Over the last six years, the Milford School District has become very involved with helping local students that are considered homeless. In each school, teachers, counselors and administrative staff receive training on how to recognize homeless children and how to assist them. With a nationwide increase in home foreclosures and a decrease in the number of available jobs around the nation over the past decade, officials at the Milford School District expect the number of children identified as homeless to increase over the next school year. Craig Warrington, Homeless Liaison for the Milford School District, states that these issues much be addressed as the community as a whole.
“Coldwell Banker and the Chamber members really came through for the homeless students in Milford. We stuffed the district’s 12-passenger van with toys, clothes, hats and over 80 coats,” Mr. Warrington said. “I receive calls almost daily from folks who are in need of assistance. Fortunately I also receive calls from people wanting to help.”
In addition to the items collected for children, Coldwell Banker in Milford accepted items such as coats, scarves, hats, gloves and blankets that will be distributed to families that are considered homeless within the Milford School District boundaries. Terri Favata, Broker at Coldwell Banker, said that there continues to be a growing need from local families who may otherwise not have a Christmas. She said it was a great feeling to be able to help those who are less fortunate in the district.
“It is very rewarding,” Ms. Favata said. “It was a way to give back to the community and help those who are less fortunate than we are. I feel very blessed to have been able to help those kids and their families.”
Warrington says that a state of consistency is very important in a child’s life, whether it is a simple sleeping bag or keeping children in their classrooms even when they move outside the district lines. “When people are in hotels and other houses with many people, the sleeping bag gives them a constant and their own space,” said Warrington. “However, many of our students are either on a floor in a shelter, motel or doubled up with other families. There are not enough beds or space available, thus they end up sleeping on the floor. The sleeping bag is a barrier and gives them a softer area to sleep. Sleeping bags and blankets are always the first items I run out of yearly.”
The Milford School District is asking for the public’s help in assisting these homeless children by providing items such as toiletries and clothing. Local organizations, businesses, church groups and private citizens can get involved by contacting the Milford School District Representative Craig Warrington at 302-424-6470 or 302-384-4669.
“Families are very humbled when they receive these items. The community has always stepped up for our students,” said Warrington. “I had two families with children walk about four miles to pick up supplies. We gave them a ride home after we were made aware. It really puts things in perspective.”