Wellington-based charity Back to Basics, which provides school uniforms and holiday gifts to elementary-aged children, could use some help in giving children the basic necessities — new sneakers, socks, underwear and a toy — this holiday season.
Founder Beverly Perham was working with volunteers Sunday, Nov. 20 as they bagged up gift packages to go to 6,000 children in 40 schools over the next few weeks. There might even be more in need. She’s waiting to hear back from a few schools and organizations.
“Our promise is the four items,” Perham said, and she makes sure to see that each child receives a pair of sneakers, socks, underwear and a toy.
The Back to Basics warehouse has already been emptied and refilled twice, and will be emptied and refilled twice more before the holiday season is over. Gift giving, and receiving, is staggered over the course of several weeks to be more manageable.
Conceptually, Back to Basics is simple — provide children with the necessities so they can go to school.
Schools and other organizations provide Perham with a list of students who need assistance, along with their shoe and clothing sizes.
To schools, Perham says: “We’re here, we’re available to you. If you need help, call us.”
Groups such as the Rotary Club of Wellington, the Great Charity Challenge and Equestrian Sport Productions, Little Smiles and 100+ Women Who Care Southeast Florida, Kiwanis clubs, companies, churches, service organizations and individuals receive the list of what is needed, including the sizes, for however many children the group adopts, and they start shopping.
The items are delivered to Perham and her volunteers, who then sort and distribute the items. If anything is missing, cash donations or grants are used to purchase the items. If a child is not adopted, donations are used to purchase items for that child. “This year, we were very fortunate. Today I put up the last 60 names I had at St. Rita Church, and they still went,” Perham said. “The people who took them were people who had already taken names and bought the gifts and brought them back.”
The week after Thanksgiving, Perham said, St. Rita Catholic Church becomes home base. Volunteers are welcome and need only contact Perham for details.
To help at this stage in the holiday season, children’s shoes, socks and underwear — any size — would help, and monetary donations are always welcome. Often, up to 25 percent of the children in need do not have people or organizations adopting them. Back to Basics uses funds and surplus supplies to provide those children with gifts.
A simple way to help is to keep an eye on sales, whether they are Black Friday sales or other sales. Toys, underwear, socks and shoes are always needed.
Last year, Perham said, Back to Basics had a booth at the West Palm Beach Green Market on the first Saturday after Christmas. They received 150 toys from people whose children received duplicate toys or toys they didn’t want. They plan on attending again this year.
Even though it looks like Back to Basics will be able to cover its current list of children, it isn’t even December yet, Perham said. She expects that some schools might still call and ask for help.
Perham has a volunteer who assists in grant writing. She asks any organization that offers grants to contact her.
Volunteers and donations are always needed. Wrapping paper and gift bags are also always needed, and can often be found on sale after the holiday season to be used the following year. Currently, Perham said, the organization is in critical need of boys size 3 and 4 shoes, as well as women’s size 9 shoes.
ABOVE: Denise Miles, Deby Pfendler, Sandy Kline, Keelin Coleman, Rylee Bleakley, Jackie Tedamonson, Beverly Perham and Jeffrey Perham prepare presents in the Back to Basics warehouse.