ST. PAUL, Minn. — On Friday, Oct. 24, nearly 2,000 children from low-income families will be outfitted with brand new winter coats thanks to Minneapolis and Saint Paul firefighters. The firefighters partner with Operation Warm, a national, nonprofit organization that has provided new coats to 1.5 million children in need. Firefighters fundraise in order to personally fit each child, help select their favorite color and write their name in the interior tag of their coat, which reads, “Made Just for You.”
In 2013, Minneapolis firefighters launched Operation Warm and distributed 500 new coats to children attending Lucy Craft Laney Elementary in North Minneapolis. After seeing the positive affect on the community, the firefighters set out to double their impact and will provide coats to more than 1,000 children at Anderson United Community School this Friday, with help from Centerpoint Energy and Fulton Brewery.
“As firefighters, we go into homes and witness the living conditions faced by low-income kids,” said Justin Johnson, a Minneapolis firefighter. “This is a program that strengthens communities and the overall well-being of children.”
This year, Saint Paul firefighters have adopted the mission and will reach nearly 500 children. With guidance from the Minneapolis firefighters, they kicked off their fundraising efforts with an event at Flat Earth Brewery. Their coat celebration is scheduled for Friday at Dayton’s Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary with Mayor Chris Coleman in attendance.
“Our winters are only getting colder and poverty levels are reaching 30 percent in Saint Paul,” said Colin Oglesbee, a Saint Paul firefighter. “Our children and schools benefit from this program in more ways than one.”
Operation Warm has brought 20 percent of its manufacturing back to the USA, an effort which supports more than 200, fair-paying jobs. Coats distributed by firefighters in the Twin Cities will be 100 percent American-made. “This is so much more than a coat,” said Johnson. “Beyond warmth and dignity for children, producing coats in the USA puts Americans back to work and back on their feet.”
Together, Operation Warm and firefighters affiliated with the International Association of Firefighters have served more than 50,000 children in 39 states.
• Saint Paul Firefighters – Coat Distribution
Dayton’s Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary School
262 Bates Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55106
Friday, Oct. 24
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (School Assembly at 1:30 p.m.)
• Minneapolis Firefighters – Coat Distribution
Anderson United Community School
1098 Anderson Lane
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Friday, Oct. 24
8 a.m. Coat Distribution and 10 a.m. Program & Assembly
• Donation Information:
Donate to Minneapolis Firefighters: www.operationwarm.org/minneapolis82
Donate to St. Paul Firefighters: www.operationwarm.org/stpaul
For More Information:
Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) is one of Minnesota’s largest school districts with more than 39,000 students. Superintendent Valeria Silva began leading SPPS in 2010, following more than two decades as a teacher, principal and administrator. Highly trained and deeply dedicated staff, cutting-edge academic programs, and strong community support are among the district’s hallmarks. Our student population is diverse, with students who speak more than 125 languages and dialects.