Winter is coming, but the Statesville Professional Fire Fighters Association stepped up to donate 150 coats to the Iredell-Statesville Schools system.
“As firefighters, we try to make a difference in our community not just by protecting and serving in emergency situations, but also by supporting various community needs, including efforts to keep our children warm each winter,” President Justin Elam said in the SPFFA's statement.
The donation is part of Operation Warm's Coats for Kids, a national organization that works to "provide warmth, confidence and hope to children in need through the gift of brand-new winter coats," according to their mission statement.
Like so many other things this year, it was a little harder to pull off for the SPFFA because of the coronavirus. The group said many of its fundraisers were canceled to do safety concerns, but that it raised money through raffles and other donations.
This is the sixth consecutive year that SPFFA has participated in Operation Warm's Coats for Kids. In total, SPFFA has donated more than 750 coats to Iredell County children.
Getting the coats to those in need
For Tonya Reid, a social worker at Iredell-Statesville Schools, it's part of fulfilling one of the many needs of those she works with.
"It's Christmas coming early and lets me know that there's folks out there willing to meet the needs. There's also a food supply need, personal hygiene need — but coats, it's a good feeling knowing a kid is going to be warm, thanks to them," Reid said. She is also the McKinney-Vento homeless education program liaison.
She said school counselors and others help find which students need the coats the most, and now that the firefighters have delivered the coats, it's up to Reid and other social workers to get the coats to those in need.
"When the season changes, and there's a need for warmer wear. The Statesville Professional Firefighters Association approached me seven years and asked 'How can we help?'" Reid said.
She said if others are willing to donate, contact her at 704-832-2549.
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