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Massachusetts children donate winter clothes to children of Appalachia

(February 28, 2007) Nelsonville, Ohio – Sometimes, a little good really can go a long way.

In early February, the Nelsonville-based Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) received a box of new children’s winter clothing and accessories from the Rainbow Workshop and Learning Center, located in rural Massachusetts. The community foundation staff were surprised and impressed by the generous donation and decided to pass it along to where it would be needed most – the Nelsonville Family Center.

The family center, located at 1154 E. Canal Street, is a resource center for local families. The center provides a weekly clothes bank, parent support and education, play groups and after-school programs for children and teenagers. The family center and its programs are sponsored by Athens County Childrens Services.
Children receive clothes donation at the Nelsonville Family Center
Rhonda Bentley, director of the Nelsonville Family Center, said the center’s free clothing bank is open every Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is available for any local family. Almost all non-monetary donations are accepted, and Bentley extended her thanks to the random donors from Massachusetts. She also stressed the strong need in the community for clothing and personal items and as a helpful place where families can turn for any reason.

“The clothes bank is for everyone,” Bentley said. “The best part of the center is that money has no place here.”

The Rainbow Workshop and Learning Center, the donor organization of this cross-country gift, is a small preschool located in rural southeastern Massachusetts (Assonet, Mass.), 40 miles south of Boston. About 30 families have children who attend the school.

A parent of a Rainbow student told the preschool about FAO and thought the Foundation, which provides grants and holds endowed funds to benefit the 29 counties of Southeast Ohio, would be a good gateway to share the clothes with Appalachian Ohio children who needed them. FAO’s I’m a Child of Appalachia™ Network (ICAN!) supports access and success in education for the region’s students.

Elizabeth Lawton of the Rainbow Workshop said the preschool tries to do some type of service project every month and always reminds the children of where the items are going.

The Workshop preschool staff tries to instill a sense of giving in the students, and they focus on community service at the local and national levels.

Collecting the winter accessories was Rainbow’s project for January, and Lawton said the children also used the packing of gloves, hats and scarves as lessons in math, color and giving.

“We want to instill a sense of the needs of others in the children,” Lawton said. “Even though they have a lot of fun in doing the project, packing the items up, the children know they are doing something very kind.”