SIOUX CITY, Iowa – On Monday, November 17th, 2014, children from low-income families across Sioux City will be outfitted with brand-new winter coats thanks to Sioux City Firefighters, Local 7. Firefighters have partnered with Operation Warm, a national, non-profit organization that has provided new coats to 1.5 million children in need. Firefighters fundraised in order to personally fit each child, help select their favorite color, and write their name in the interior tag of their new coat, which reads, “Made Just for You.” Thanks to support from Heartland Paper and other local businesses, Firefighters will provide new coats for 114 children who are in need.
Fire Fighters worked closely with Girls Inc. and the Boys Club to select coat recipients based upon their high percentage of children qualifying for support programs such as free and reduced meals. A new coat allows families to stretch limited financial resources to other basic necessities like food and shelter. The gift of a new winter coat raises a child’s self-esteem by giving him or her something new that is their own. Having something BRAND NEW is a rare treat for most children from low income families.
In 2012, Operation Warm and the International Association of Firefighters launched a partnership that spans the US and Canada. Working together for two years, IAFF Firefighters have served over 50,000 less-fortunate children in 39 states.
Operation Warm has brought 20% of its manufacturing back to the USA, an effort which supports over 200, fair paying jobs. Coats distributed by firefighters in Sioux City will be 100% American-made. “This is so much more than a coat,” said Rich Lalley, Executive Director of Operation Warm. “Beyond warmth and dignity for children, producing coats in the USA puts Americans back to work and back on their feet.”