Operation Warm isn’t your typical coat drive for children. It’s a nonprofit that provides brand new coats for kids in need, no questions asked.
According to the Operation Warm website, the program has been manufacturing its own coats for about 20 years and has provided 3 million coats to kids who need them.
More than 14 million children live in poverty in the United States, the website stated.
The idea of giving kids new coats instead of used coats is to give them confidence.
Each new coat is manufactured to the “highest of standards” in Pennsylvania, which is where the headquarters of Operation Warm are located. The coats are then sent out to fire stations throughout the United States that want to partner and participate in Operation Warm.
This year, five Puget Sound area fire stations came together and participated in Operation Warm, according to James Booth, treasurer for the Tukwila Firefighters Local 2088.
He said Tukwila Fire, Puget Sound Regional Fire, Renton Regional Fire, Port of Seattle Fire and South King Fire and Rescue, all came together at Valley View Early Learning in SeaTac to hand out some of the 300 coats they had to kids in need.
Valley View is a preschool that hosts a number of children from all around the Puget Sound area, Booth said.
“This school as we understand it, serves a wide range of the kids throughout the south King County area and they’re kids who could use a helping hand having a warm coat for the winter,” he said.
According to the Operation Warm website, there are a vast variety of colors and sizes, that way each child has a chance to get one that fits not only them physically, but also their sense of style as well.
At the event in SeaTac, Booth said the goal was to not only give each child a coat, but to also show them a good time. To do this, the children were able to explore one of the multiple fire trucks that parked in front of their school.
Booth said the firefighters also showed them a safety demonstration.
This isn’t the first time fire stations from the Puget Sound area have participated in Operation Warm, but it is the first time they have all done it together.
Following the event Oct. 11, if there were coats remaining, Booth said those would be donated to different organizations in the community that also need coats.
“We’ve had that happen before, but what we will do is reach out to other partners in the community, whether it be churches… A couple years ago — there’s an organization in Tukwila called DAWN, Domestic Abused Women Network. So we’ve given coats to them as well. A lot of the women have kids and they’re in transition,” Booth explained.
“Every child, regardless of circumstance, deserves to feel the warmth, confidence and hope that comes from the gift of something new, made just for them,” the Operation Warm website said.