“It Starts At Home” is seeking sponsors to benefit local children this Christmas

WEBSTER – When I was asked by Smart Shopper to consider doing a Spotlight Article about “It Starts At Home” I was thrilled.   I think this is such a great initiative, one that will bring so much joy to local children at Christmas.

The Christmas sponsor program is our first initiative, I was calling it a pilot, but with 87 sponsors already registered in mid-October I think it is becoming more than a pilot.  It has truly become a vehicle for caring people to help local children.

How did this come about?

For the last few years, I have been lucky enough to sponsor children through a similar initiative in Worcester.  Last year, I thought I could do this.  I should bring this to my hometown Thompson and Webster where I have worked for many years and we own a local business.  After giving it more thought I started to envision a framework where people like me who are willing to meet with schools and organizations to facilitate coordination could use our website and process. A way to connect to do something good.
This summer my nephew and I worked on the site www.itstartshome.org and created a means for people to sponsor a child for Christmas.  I have met the Superintendents in both Thompson and Webster and we are partnering.  With the help of many friends and my family we have started to socialize the site and the Christmas initiative.  Recently I added an organization called NFI and the 30 children/teens that NFI assists.  These children could really use some joy and thoughtfulness.  You can read more about NFI at www.nfima.org
The school districts and NFI are collecting wish lists from children who may otherwise not have a Christmas and will be passing those along to me to give to a registered sponsor.  The sponsors will receive their lists by Thanksgiving Eve and must have their shopping completed by 12/16.  It Starts at Home will provide sponsors with various times and locations they can drop gifts off.  This will include direct drop-off to the school’s administration office, if people are more comfortable with that.
What is It Starts at Home?
We are a purely volunteer initiative.  An initiative built on the premise of doing goods things within your local community “HOME”.  Strengthening our local communities and focusing on helping children can only improve the future of the child, the community and the sponsors.  Its really a something everyone feels good about.
What have I learned through this?
That there are a lot of terrific people willing to help they just don’t know how to connect or are discouraged by big organizations where a small percent goes to the cause.  Therefore It Starts at Home is perfect.  We just coordinate.  We aren’t accepting monetary donations.  The sponsor can drop off the gifts off directly at the schools if they’d like.  Most of our advertising has been done through flyers and Facebook socialiization.
We have a page and group in Facebook both are entitled It Starts at Home.  Daily I share information with the group as to how many sponsors we’ve had and what communication has taken place.  Everyone is included and an instrumental part of the process.  People have been great, so much kindness and unity.  People who can’t sponsor help to share my posts many of these people are strangers just willing to help in some way.

How do you sponsor?
Through www.itstartshome.org you can sponsor a child.  As soon as you open the page you’ll see the sponsor button simply click that button enter some basic info name, email address etc.  Within a day or two I send the sponsor a letter via the email address provided that details what to expect over the next few week.  I am also posting updates on the sites Bulletin Board and The Facebook groups and page.  Anyone looking for more information is welcome to email me  jill@itstartshome.org

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