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#ThankATeacher for All They Do

May 05, 2015

National Teacher Day takes place today, Tuesday May 5, as part of National Teacher Week. Operation Warm thanks all of America’s teachers for their service to our nation’s children and our future. We’re grateful for all of the “extras” they do in time and fortune to care and provide for their students’ basic needs, as well as educating them.

Teachers are an integral part of Operation Warm’s work. A teacher can’t help but notice when a child comes to school in freezing weather wearing only a thin hoodie. A teacher will spring into action out of concern for a student who lacks a basic necessity like a warm coat. Many of them ask us for help, knowing what a difference new, warm coats would make to their students’ health, attendance, and comfort. And when Operation Warm is able to help a school in need, it’s the teachers who are there to help hand the coats out and to see the smiles they bring to children’s faces. Listen to teachers talk about what Operation Warm means to them in the video below.

Give thanks to your favorite teacher today on social media, with the hashtag #ThankATeacher!

 

Coats for Kids Cleveland & Operation Warm

May 04, 2015

In 2012 Operation Warm began its partnership with a large coat drive in Ohio: Coat for Kids – Cleveland.  Their mission began in 1981 when it came to the attention of a local radio station that many economically disadvantaged students nationwide – and an alarming number in their own communities – stopped going to school in the winter due to inadequate clothing for the bitter cold.  For reference to those not local, an average northeastern Ohio winter sees 122 days of below freezing temperatures and it’s not uncommon for wind chills to plunge those already low digits into the negatives.  To compound the issue in the Cleveland area, a shocking 52% of its citizens are living below the poverty level.  When the members of WTAM 1100 realized what was happening, they took up a call to action and began broadcasting for new and like-new coat donations.  That November in 1981 their radio station was overflowing with coats, and they were able to share their success with the students of local schools in critical need.

Now celebrating their 34th year serving the children of Ohio, Coats for Kids – Cleveland is doing more and more every year and remains driven by community involvement.  
November marks the beginning of their annual coat drive with collection bins available at area malls, businesses and organizations through early January.  Local volunteers then sort the infant to adult sized coats, ensure they are clean and intact, and ready them for distribution.

Operation Warm is proud to work with CFK Cleveland as they provide thousands of both imported and Made in the U.S.A. coats annually.  However, the need to keep our children warm and in school during the winter is still great.  Coat and monetary donations are always needed, and without your ongoing support, Coats for Kids would not exist. 

For Ohio locals, you can click here to learn more and help CFK Cleveland reach their 2015 collection goals of $125,000 and 25,000 new or like-new winter coats!

For everyone else, learn how partner with Operation Warm through a Donor Managed Program.

Made in the USA Coats: Good for Jobs, Good for the Environment, Good For Kids

April 22, 2015

Earth Day is celebrated as a day to reflect on our environment, our planet, and what we can do to keep them healthy. Operation Warm mindfully follows a similar model with the communities we serve.

Since 1998, our annual coat inventory has been procured from Asia, necessitating a long voyage to reach the children they warm. Beginning in 2010, we began looking at moving production to the U.S. in order to reduce our carbon footprint and to promote economic and workforce development through good sustainable jobs. 

In 2013, Operation Warm, in partnership with the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), unveiled a new project that would do more than reach the goal of our core mission.  “Firefighters for Operation Warm” started to move coat production to the United States. Our Made in America program not only creates sustainable jobs here at home, but also markedly reduces our carbon footprint as coats travel over considerably fewer miles to get not only to us, but to our beneficiary organizations and the children they serve. Because of the close proximity from factory to distribution point, pollutant emissions caused by transportation are kept to a minimum, energy requirements are substantially reduced and the environment is therefore spared. By migrating manufacturing to the U.S., we are benefitting the environment, while providing a high-quality, American-made coats that keeps children warm, happy, and empowered to attend school on cold winter days.

When Operation Warm began production in our Selma, Alabama manufacturing facility, we saved 25% of the facility’s local workforce, astounding in a community already experiencing more than 15% unemployment. Since the inception of this program, the firefighter heroes of the IAFF have fundraised for and distributed approximately 90,000 USA-made coats nationwide to impoverished children in their local communities.

Our Firefighters for Operation Warm project has doubled coat output and IAFF involvement from 2013 to 2014 with 210 locals now participating in 12 districts and 35 states. We know those numbers will only continue to grow!

Our partnership with the IAFF has made this initiative more personal and effective, giving us the advantage of dedicated and driven individuals solving a critical need in their home communities.

With the help of the IAFF, Operation Warm’s dream of migrating our coat production to the U.S. is closer than ever, and we’re helping protect the environment in the process.

Take a moment to see how some Firefighters are giving back in communities near you.

 

In Their Own Words: The Impact of a New Coat

April 13, 2015

Without our thousands of funding and coat distribution partners, Operation Warm would not have been able to bring happiness and warmth to 300,000 children last winter. We recently surveyed over 800 coat distribution partner schools and organizations about our program’s impact, and here’s what they had to say:

“All of our scholars wear their coats daily. It is awesome!” Kelly Carideo-Graves, Harford Heights Elementary School, Baltimore, MD

“Some of our students come to us with such needs in many areas and school budgets don't cover personal needs (socks, underwear, coats, etc.) for our students. It is such a blessing to have organizations like Operation Warm to help us in our mission here.” Brenda Young, Nicholson STEM Academy, Chicago, IL

“Students were smiling. Some were overjoyed. Some were very excited. Some were very grateful and expressed their gratitude weeks after the distribution had taken place.” Rufina Brown, Parker Elementary School, Chicago, IL

“The children were just tickled. They were very proud of their new coat, and stood taller as soon as they put it on.” - Laura Milazzo Mackiewicz, La Comunidad Hispana, Kennett Square, PA

Moments like these are the end result of year-round work by Operation Warm, and you can help when you join our monthly giving program. Your gift of only $10 a month provides six brand new winter coats that positively impact vulnerable young lives. Thank you for bringing children this most basic need, which makes them feel special, encourages school attendance on cold winter days, and is a financial blessing to their families.

Photo: Lee Shelly Photography

Syrian Refugee Children Warmed by Operation Warm and UNICEF

March 09, 2015

Last fall, Operation Warm partnered with UNICEF USA to bring happiness and warmth to 23,000 child refugees of the war in Syria.  Our brand new winter coats were included in 23,000 Warm Winter Clothing kits.  Take a look at this video to see the joy these new coats brought to children living in unimaginable conditions.

You can support efforts in 2015 to bring more winter clothing, including Operation Warm coats, by donating here.

EQT Foundation Gives a Gift of Warmth

February 25, 2015

Thanks to a generous grant from the EQT Foundation, Operation warm was able to provide brand new winter coats to 1,000 children from several counties in Southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia this winter. The EQT Foundation supports nonprofits in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia to provide support to projects that help make a difference on critical issues in our society, including providing basic needs to under-served children. EQT believes in giving back to the communities in which they work and their support allows us to give the gift of warmth to children living in need in those communities.

Kids receive Operation Warm coatsFor the past seven years, EQT has worked with Operation Warm to provide brand new winter coats to children living in need in the company’s operating area. The foundation has provided not only generous grant funding, but also employee volunteer hours at our coat distribution events. Operation Warm is so grateful for the continued support of the EQT Foundation!

EQT Foundation’s Mission:  The Foundation will help EQT make a difference by identifying and supporting innovative local programs and initiatives that support the efforts of our operating regions to produce an abundant and well-trained workforce, a diverse and economically viable business climate, and an environmentally safe and stable infrastructure.  Learn more about EQT by visiting their website at: www.eqt.com.

Two Thumbs Up for Groupon

September 15, 2014

We are so fortunate to have many corporate sponsors supporting our mission.  Currently, Groupon Coupons and Groupon Grassroots are running campaigns supporting our work to bring the joy and warmth of a new winter coat to children in need.

Today, Groupon will make a donation to our effort for each coupon redeemed with an online purchase via Groupon Coupons.  There are many valuable savings opportunities, so check it out.

And for the next ten days, Groupon Grassroots is featuring Operation Warm, inviting Groupon users to make a $10 donation which will be matched by a Rotary Club so that a child in need will receive a new Operation Warm winter coat.  Donors can select which state they want to have their coat directed when they register their donation voucher.
We send “Two Thumbs Up” to our friends at Groupon and all of their customers who support us in our work to make a difference in so many young lives.  Thank you!

Operation Warm & UNICEF Bringing Warmth to Syrian Refugee Children

July 17, 2014

The ongoing civil war in Syria has devastated the lives of its children. It’s almost unfathomable, the number of Syrian refugee children whose lives have been placed in peril.

5.5 MILLION CHILDREN

It’s a big number. Each one of these children deserves an opportunity for HOPE. Every life is precious.  Every life counts.  We must never make the mistake of presuming that with a problem so vast, there’s nothing we can do to help or that our contribution would be futile. There is a way you can help.

In most pictures depicting this horrific crisis we see the blazing hot sun and sand.  Many don’t realize that winter in Syria is freezing cold and windy, with temperatures dropping as low as minus six and great accumulations of snow. Without aid provided by UNICEF's winter clothing kits, many children would literally freeze to death.

Syrian refugee boy in winterOperation Warm and UNICEF are working together, and on a very short timeline, to raise the money required to ship warm winter coats to Syrian refugee camps where children struggle to survive.  We are asking for your support in providing warm winter coats in time for this winter.  To read more about the crisis, please click here.

To donate (and we hope you will), please click here. Your gift is very meaningful and will provide much needed relief from daily despair, illness, poverty, and loneliness. Thank you.

Cause Marketing is Good Marketing

June 23, 2014

A recent study by Cone Communications found that demand for brands to support causes is strong and growing.  One highlight of the study: 91% of global consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause, given comparable price and quality.

I t comes a little surprise then that more companies are offering to help Operation Warm as we work to provide happiness and warmth to more children through the gift of brand new winter coats.   This includes our latest cause marketing partner, Half Moon Restaurant in Kennett Square, just a few miles from our office.

Our mission resonates with many and provides a compelling cause for your business to support:  empowering underprivileged children to attend school with pride on cold winter days thanks to a new Operation Warm winter coat.  Let us know if you’d like to work with us on your next cause marketing campaign.

An Idea We Love- “Beards for Coats”

January 09, 2014

One of the best ways to keep the Operation Warm team smiling is to send us news of your most creative fundraising ideas.  Our latest “best idea of the day” comes from Walla Walla, Washington.  Here’s what’s happening there! 

Hello Operation Warm,

We just wanted to let you know we are having a beard growing contest where our students will vote with a quarter in a jar with some of our teacher’s pictures on them. Once we are finished all proceeds will go to Operation Warm. The contest ends on Valentine’s Day. Funds will be distributed through our ASB. One of our local vendors is donating a shave kit for the winner.

I have never done a fundraiser like this so I have no idea how successful it will be.  My thinking was to cash in on all the "no-shave Novembers" and duck dynasty beards going on out there, and I thought the guys were keeping their faces warm while helping keep kids warm.  I have attached a couple of the flyers FYI.  We wanted you to have a heads’ up!

Thanks,
Britt Adkins
Registrar, Pioneer Middle School

Thanks for sharing Mr. Adkins.  We'd love to hear of other creative fundraising idea; send them along.