LONDONDERRY — It’s summer and that means it’s time for some fresh air.
A small group of Fresh Air Fund children climbed off a bus this week and into the arms of host families. The program brings children from New York City to this area for summer time visits every year.
Only three children got off the bus in Londonderry Wednesday, but others were arriving at other locations throughout the state, including a stop in Bedford. Another group is expected next month.
Volunteer host families share up to two weeks with their Fresh Air children. Many families are veterans of the program and see the same child each year.
Some relationships have lasted for more than a decade.
Fresh Air fund volunteer Johana Comeau said nine buses left New York’s Port Authority this week with Fresh Air children aboard for visits to Maine, New Hampshire, Delaware and Virginia.
Comeau is a longtime supporter of the program and forged her first relationship with a Fresh Air child in 2000. The family continues to stay in touch and plans regular visits.
Comeau said 15 local families will be part of the Fresh Air program this summer.
Volunteer host families are always needed.
“It’s intermittent,” she said. “But we are still seeing a lot of support.”
The program has been in existence since 1877, offering low-income inner city children a chance to spend summer time in more rural areas of the country.
Each summer, more than 4,000 children in the program are able to visit host families in 13 states and Canada.