Middletown’s Warm The Children program is $12,000 short of its 2014-15 goal of $57,000. Donations received through Dec. 31 total $45,000, according to Lynn Baldoni, Warm The Children program coordinator.

Baldoni said the shortage is hard to take because last year, through December, donations totaled $54,000. She pointed out that last year’s total included one big donation, which was a one-time thing, but that unless the shortfall is made up, it will have a negative effect on the number of children served next fall/winter.

Baldoni has assigned and served 777 children this year, the most ever. In order to pay the bills for winter clothing and footwear for that number, which she hopes to serve in 2015-16, she must have at least $57,000. While some grants are possibly forthcoming, the only one she is assured of is a $2,500 grant from the Middlesex County Community Foundation. Even with that, there will be a shortfall of $9,500, Baldoni said.

Warm The Children, a joint effort of The Middletown Press and the Kiwanis Club of Middletown, asks readers for monetary donations – every penny of which will be used to purchase new winter clothing and footwear for northern Middlesex County’s neediest children.

Staffs from area public elementary and middle schools and social service agencies including CRT Head Start, Even Start, and Middlesex Hospital’s Family Advocacy Program identify families to be served.

The Kiwanis Club Warm The Children coordinator assigns each family to a volunteer shopper (there are 170 of them in the Middletown area). They meet at a mutually agreeable time at Walmart in Cromwell, and together they select new winter things for the children ($80 each for age 2 and over, $40 each for under 2). Walmart bills the Kiwanis Foundation for all purchases.

Tax deductible donations are gladly accepted at:

Warm The Children, c/o Mason Smith, Liberty Bank, 315 Main St., Middletown CT 06457.