On Thursday afternoon, a group of seven children from New York City eagerly stepped out of a bus that arrived in the Lumber Lane parking lot in East Hampton, excited to begin a weeklong vacation that promised outdoor adventures and an escape from the city in the summer. As part of the Fresh Air Fund’s summer hosting program, the children will stay with volunteer host families in East Hampton and elsewhere on the South Fork.
Each year the Fresh Air Fund sends 4,000 children from low-income neighborhoods in New York City to suburban or rural communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine, and even Canada. The organization aims to give city children, many of whom rarely or never get to leave home, an experience outdoors.
It is not uncommon for Fresh Air Fund host families to host the same child for many years in a row, and such was the case for some of the children who arrived on Thursday. Many were met with hugs from host parents and host siblings and exclamations of how big they had grown since last summer.
The children go home with stories every year. "It's hilarious to hear about their stories on the way back and they always show us their pictures," one of the volunteer chaperons said Thursday.