Fresh Air Fund looking for volunteer families to host kids

02/04/2014 10:53 AM |

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | The Fresh Air Fund is looking for volunteers to host urban children this summer to help provide a summer experience, such as visiting the beach in South Jamesport.

Live on the North Fork and want to make a difference this year? Your backyard and the region’s starry sky could be just the ticket when it comes to making this summer unforgettable for a New York City child.

Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit based in Manhattan, has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.7 million urban children — and the organization is once again looking for families to volunteer their time.

“During the time your host child is [visiting] you can do all your normal family things and treat the child to some extra-fun summer experiences, like going to the beach or pool,” said Eve Kaplan, the owner of Garden of Eve in Riverhead. “It does not have to cost extra money.”

Last summer, Ms. Kaplan’s family hosted an 8-year-old boy from Flushing, Queens for one week at their home and plan to do it again this year.

“Our kids loved having a new friend to play with and we are hoping to have the same child back this coming year,” she said. “It was a real blessing for us and for the child.”

The Fresh Air Fund can only take as many children as they have host families, Ms. Kaplan said, so would-be host families are encouraged to call the organization at 1-800-367-0003 or Martha Mintzer at 203-226-6627. For more information, visit www.freshair.org.

ryoung@timesreview.com