NORWICH – The Fresh Air Fund was started in 1877 by Reverend Willard Parsons, and ever since then, the organization has been working to provide country vacations to the children living in the inner city of New York.
Local Fresh Air Fund chairperson Sandra Follett explained that the program is intended to provide an opportunity for city children to experience new activities and new people in a different setting. “Being in a big outdoor area and getting to play, go fishing and swimming – it’s special to them, because it’s something they don’t ordinarily get to do,” Follett said.
The Fresh Air Fund is a not-for-profit agency that aids disadvantaged children in New York City. Friendly families in areas throughout New York and Pennsylvania are recruited to host the children for a period of one to two weeks. Fresh Air children include both boys and girls from age 6 to 18. Follett explained that there are no income requirements for host families. Interested parties are asked to fill out a form authorizing the organization to perform a background check, and they are interviewed by Follett and volunteer committee members. They are also asked to provide some references.