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Southampton Inn Welcomes Fresh Air Fund Children and Families for Pool Party, BBQ

Fresh Air Fund provided free summer vacations for New York City children through the generosity of host families.

Several familiar young faces visited the on Monday, along with many new ones, as the inn hosted a pool party and barbecue for Fresh Air Fund children and the families that are hosting them for a week.

The Fresh Air Fund is a nonprofit founded in 1877 that places New York City children for a week with families in a small town to enjoy a different kind of environment. Many children, between the ages of 6 and 18, stay with the same host family summer after summer.

"You get as much out of it as the child you host does," said Michelle Malone, the Southampton chairperson for the Fresh Air Fund. Malone coordinates with families in Southampton, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor and Hampton Bays.

Southampton Inn owner Dede Gotthelf said her family were Fresh Air Fund hosts for three years, and in the past five years she has put on a community barbecue and pool party for host families and visiting children at her inn.

For Amy Wilson, this is her family's second time hosting the same child, 9-year-old Marques Taylor of the Bronx.

"All the things we have to be grateful for — to share it with one more child is just wonderful," she said at Monday's pool party.

Wilson has a 4-year-old daughter, Maggie, and two boys around Marques' age, Connor Flannery, 9, and Seamus Flannery, 8.

While this time around has gone as planned, with Marques staying at her family's Water Mill home, last year plans were derailed by Hurricane Irene. Instead of staying on the East End, they spent part of the week at her family's apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and the rest in Pennsylvania. 

"It isn't as incredible as the Hamptons with the ocean," Wilson said; although, "It ended up being terrific."

"We knew right away we wanted to do it again and kept in touch," she added.

Malone said she is still looking for families to host children for a week in August, and encouraged those who are interested to call her at 212-897-8900.

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