Dozens of brave campers withstood chilly temps and snowy conditions this weekend to take part in the second annual Delaware KIDS Fund Camping Out for Coats. The Delaware KIDS Fund — a nonprofit established by real estate development company Harvey Hanna — partnered with Operation Warm on the fundraiser to supply new winter coast to underserved elementary school children in Newport.
Not all of Thursday’s snowfall had melted when the first 30 campers pitched their tents on the field under 141 and across from James Street Tavern on Friday afternoon in Newport. Friday night was the happening night, with a larger, more festive ‘happy hour’ crowd and hot nibbles and burgers from James Street Tavern. Harvey Hanna’s Ryan Kennedy spearheads the fundraiser and quipped, “With complimentary wine and beer, and our campers stayed up late!”
Campers could spend one or two nights camping out for coats. On both nights campers were treated to live acoustical music, a variety of grilled food and beverages, campfires, S’more’s cookouts and storytelling (for the younger ones).
A big part of the fundraiser was to help create awareness about the greater Newport’s population of poverty-stricken children, many of whom struggle for things like a proper winter coat, hats and gloves. “Providing a child in a need a brand new coat creates confidence, peer-acceptance and inspiration,” said Kennedy, Executive Director of The Delaware KIDS Fund.
With about 45 campers total for the weekend and $38,000 raised so far, Kennedy says there’s growing interest in the novel fundraiser. “This year several businesses jumped on board, sending a few of their employees to the campout and making donations to the cause. And dozens of people made donations and help set up for the event. We see the potential of this event really taking off in years to come.”
With more donations still coming in, Kennedy is confident the Delaware KIDS Fund will raise $40,000 (their goal for the event) for 1,800 winter coats that will be distributed to underserved elementary school children in Newport.
Photos contributed by Karen Brooks.