THE BRONX — A local nonprofit has turned to crowdfunding to help buy winter clothing for a group of 16 formerly homeless Bronx children.
Project Renewal, a group that works to improve the lives of homeless men and women in New York City, recently launched a crowdfunding page for its "Keep a Kid Warm" campaign, which aims to raise $4,000 to provide youths in The Bronx with coats, boots, hats and more.
“Kids are very expensive, and in order to get them good winter clothes, it’s expensive,” said 40-year-old Lisa Ferreira, a formerly homeless woman whose 10-year-old daughter Juliette and 2-year-old granddaughter Isabella would both be helped by the campaign.
“We can go to one of those stores that sell things at a very low price, but then the material is not good, and we’re going to end up spending more,” she continued.
Ferreira found an apartment in the South Bronx for herself and her family in 2013 through Project Renewal's En Casa program, a housing program for families that also provides them with services like health care and case management. The winter clothing campaign will directly benefit children who've received help through the program.
Currently, Ferreira works full-time as a teller, and her grown daughter Jennifer works at the New York Botanical Garden, but she said she still struggles to bring home enough money to make sure her children have good winter clothes.
"I have to work my way up, and I don’t know how long that’s going to take," she said, "So for now, I have to still make sure my kids are dressed warmly for the winter."
Project Renewal launched its crowdfunding campaign last week, and has so far raised $1,120 toward the $4,000 goal.
The group hopes to raise the majority of the $4,000 by Thanksgiving and complete its goal by the end of December, according to Project Renewal president and CEO Mitchell Netburn.
A $25 donation will pay for a pair of boots, while a $250 donation will pay for an entire winter wardrobe, the fundraising page says.
"For many of our clients, even once they get full-time employment, it is really not enough for them to pay rent and all the other bills in their lives, particularly if they have children," Netburn said.
"We chose clothing for children as the focus of this crowdfunding goal because, obviously, it’s a critical thing."
Ferreira said she tries to be forward thinking when buying winter outfits for her children, but this strategy only takes her so far.
"I have bought little things here and there, and I always try to buy a bigger size, so then it can fit for the next winter," she said. "But then it comes to the time when they grow out of the stuff, and then we’ve got to buy new stuff because kids grow."
To make a donation, visit the campaign's website.