GREENWICH, Conn. — A small but enthusiastic contingent of families — including one dog that was pulling at the leash — waited eagerly in Greenwich on Saturday for a bus of New York City kids who would be spending two weeks in their suburban homes.
The Fresh Air Fund bus was nearly an hour late. But its delayed arrival didn’t dampen the spirits of the families, who waited with balloons and signs at the parking lot of the Old Greenwich train station.
“We had a wonderful time last year,” Greenwich resident Midge Pappas told The Daily Voice. She and Charles Stuttig were waiting to meet Nathaly, a nature enthusiast, for a second year in a row. “We took her to every nature center I could possibly find.”
Pappas said she and Stuttig developed a deep relationship with Nathaly and her sister, who is also visiting a family in the area this summer. They joined Pappas and Stuttig around Christmastime for a holiday visit and in the summer to go swimming at the pool.
Stamford resident John Paolini said he was hosting a child for the first time this year. His daughter heard about the program in school. Like Pappas and Stuttig, he hopes to develop a long-term bond with his family's summer guest.
“We’re excited to be a part of it,” he said, “I hope this gets to be more than just two weeks.”
When the Fresh Air bus arrived, one child walked off the bus and into the arms of a host.
The bus left almost as soon as it arrived. It was off to drop of children to waiting families in other towns, including Darien and Fairfield.
Families from all over Fairfield County — from Southport to Sherman — are hosting children, according the fund.
Founded in 1877, the Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit agency, provides free summer experiences in the country to more than 1.8 million inner-city children from low-income communities. Families can host a child to stay with them for one or two weeks in the summer.
For more information on the program visit, www.freshair.org .
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