Since 1877 the Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency has been bringing children from low-income communities out for summer vacations with volunteering host families. Recently, the Southampton Inn hosted a pool party for the Fresh Air Fund children and families complete with swimming and a good old-fashioned country BBQ.
Dede Gotthelf Moan, who owns the Southampton Inn shared why she thinks it is so important for families to get involved in the organization explaining, “You get to meet all the children and listen to their dreams. You get to give them an opportunity. We hosted for years when my children were little and I think my kids learned more about these children and their families than they learned from being able to go bike riding and fishing with us.” By speaking with the volunteers, it is easy to see how passionate they are about the Fresh Air Fund.
Julie Crowley, a volunteer whose been hosting children for several years now, said, “We were able to do our regular family routine… It’s been a really nice experience. My family lives in the country year round so its nice to see how other children live in the city and how their lives are different from ours. We have conversations throughout the day as to how things are different for them in the city versus here in the country.” The organization hopes to be able to bring out more children each year and get more families involved.
For the children, the opportunity gives them a chance to get out of the City and experience activities that aren’t the norm. Fourteen year old Fresh Air Fund participant Justin Jordan noted why he enjoys the program, “My favorite part about the Fresh Air Fund is going in the pool and going fishing… I like it out here. You can smell the fresh air instead of smelling gas.”
For more information about the Fresh Air Fund and to find out how to get involved visit www.freshair.org.