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Bring Happiness and Warmth to Children in Need with a New Winter Coat

October 23, 2015

Dear Friends,

Teeth chattering, cheeks red, and nose running, the little girl in a worn, pink sweatshirt and a ladybug backpack bounded up the school stairs and nearly into the principal, greeting her students on a frosty November morning.

"Sorry, Ms. Perdue!" said Esmeralda. "I had to get inside and get warm!"

"Why don't you have a coat, dear?" asked the principal, handing her a tissue.

"I don't have one. My mom said she might have the money to get one soon."

3 girls in their new coats and firefighter hatsTeachers and social workers across the country hear truly sad stories again and again, from children for whom poverty is a fact of life. Like Esmeralda, whose mom does her best to make ends meet on a single income. If they can't pay their rent this month, the family faces eviction from their home.

You can make a difference.

When you give a child a brand new coat, it's one less worry for the family this winter. You give kids like Esmeralda a reason to get to school every day. You give her confidence, so she stands taller as soon as she puts it on!

When you give a child a warm coat, they in turn will warm your heart. Picture smiles everywhere, as they hug the coat close around them. Picture faces that light up with surprise, because they can't believe it's for keeps! Best of all, the coat is NEW. That's a very big deal to them.

"The warmth of the coat hits me immediately and directly in the heart, every time."Esmeralda needs your help now, because even one year living in poverty puts her at risk. She is less likely to finish high school, go to college, and find a steady job. Success starts with getting to school, and that starts with proper clothing. And not a hand-me-down, but a bright, stylish, feel-good covering, with her own name written on the label.

Give a child in need a brand new, warm winter coat, and with it, the feeling of fitting in with their peers.

  • You can direct your gift to your local Operation Warm program run by your local firefighters or your workplace, or wherever coats are most needed.
  • Or, choose American Made coats, and help Americans get back to work and out of poverty.
  • Want to help more kids?  Become a Snow Angel and make your contribution monthly. $25 a month will provide fifteen new winter coats to children in need during the year.

Please help keep children happy and warm this year. Confidence radiates from a child who has something new and the right size. You can boost their pride, and free them to concentrate in class. You can make the cold winter bearable for families in need. Thank you!

Warm regards,

Richard D. Sanford
Richard D. Sanford
Founder and Chairman


P.S. - More children come to school today hungry, tired, and without a steady place to call home. You can motivate them to get to school and learn, even during the coldest months. Give a child more than a coat with your gift today.



Get Started with Your Workplace Fundraiser for Operation Warm

September 28, 2015

Corporate volunteers adopt a schoolYour business can make a tangible difference in children’s lives this fall. Partnering with Operation Warm to put new winter coats on children in need is fun and easy. Now is a great time to start your workplace fundraiser!

We don’t collect coats, because we manufacture our own – but raising funds can have a greater impact on your community! Depending on how much you raise, you may be able to adopt a local school or shelter to receive your coats. Operation Warm can help you choose a beneficiary, and in some cases, employees can help distribute coats to the children.

What makes Operation Warm a great charity partner?

  • A cause that's easy to identify with.
  • The funds you raise stay in your community.
  • Custom-branded online donation pages you can share by email and social media.

You can also raise funds with a company event like a Jeans Day, a company match for employee giving, or any other activities of your choice.  Here are a few ideas from some of our most successful workplace campaigns. The best time to end your campaign is before Christmas, to ensure all coat sizes are in stock and kids receive coats before the coldest months of winter.

Operation Warm will work with you to create a fundraiser that fits your workplace culture and capacity to give. To learn more or start your workplace campaign today, please reach out to us at, or 610-388-2500.

Thank you for all you do to keep children warm! You make a real difference in the lives of children.

Support Coats for Kids in the Combined Federal Campaign

September 10, 2015

Are you a federal employee who gives through the Combined Federal Campaign? You can now donate to Coats for Kids Foundation by Operation Warm from anywhere in the country, or overseas.

Universal Giving allows you to make your gift to any CFC-approved charity. Choose Coats for Kids Foundation, code 52316, to donate new coats to children in need this winter!

Contributions from the CFC are used exclusively to support our new winter coat program. Thanks to our CFC donors, nearly 5,000 at-risk children have received new coats since 2005.

Last winter, thanks to our CFC donors in the Washington, D.C. area, over 1,000 coats were delivered to local schools. Our partnerships with local firefighters allowed us to give the gift of warmth to children right before the harsh winter weather. Better yet, each child got to select their very own coat in their favorite style and color. With excitement and pride they marked their name on the inside tag  to show it was their own!

Their grateful smiles are thanks to you, our friends in the federal government. With your CFC donation this year, you can ensure a warm winter for struggling families. Thank you for bringing safety, happiness, and peace of mind to families in need.

Celebrating Labor Day with Operation Warm’s Made in USA Coat Program

September 04, 2015

For over 120 years, our nation has celebrated the social and economic achievements of American workers with the observance of Labor Day.  The labor force in this country has changed drastically since the first national Labor Day in the late 1880’s, especially in the manufacturing and textile industry.

From the beginning, Operation Warm’s mission has been to provide new winter coats to children in need.  These coats originally were all manufactured overseas, rather than having them manufactured in the US.  But in 2010, we began looking at expanding production to the U.S. in order to reach more children, reduce our carbon footprint and to promote economic and workforce development through good sustainable jobs.

In partnership with firefighters, we unveiled a new project that would do more to reach the goal of our core mission.  In 2013, we started the Made in America program which migrated part of our manufacturing to the U.S. for “Firefighters for Operation Warm”.  This allowed us to accomplish several initiatives:

- Provide high-quality, American-made coats that keep children warm, happy, and empowered

- Reduce our carbon footprint by closing the gap between our production and distribution centers

- Support American jobs with our new line of coat production.  From the dyes and materials through coat cutting, sewing, and shipment all supported by USA jobs.

At the inception of the program, Operation Warm’s USA coat production instantly saved many jobs at American Apparel, a Selma, Alabama manufacturer.

Today, the overall coat production supports more than 200 American jobs. Since the inception of this program, the firefighter heroes and other Operation Warm donors 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 firefighter 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!


Give a Single Mom a Gift: Warmth for Her Child

May 08, 2015

All moms deserve our thanks this Mother’s Day, but none more so than single moms. Operation Warm meets so many amazing single moms who are struggling to make ends meet while doing the job of two people. Even facing homelessness, unemployment, or a limited income, a single mom will find the strength to provide for her family, because her children are her world!

New coats are a blessing when the kids have already grown two sizes this year, and their jackets barely fit. At many a coat distribution, we’ve seen a mom cry tears of joy and gratitude knowing her children are warm. We’ve seen her excitement and relief as she snaps photos of her child with a new coat. Without a doubt, the coat is not only a gift to the child, but to their mom as well.

This Mother’s Day, celebrate those heroic single moms by giving them a hand up. Your donation of a new coat for a child today means a grateful mom with one less struggle to face this winter.

Once you've donated, dedicate your gift to your own mom with a special Mother's Day eCard!

Or, honor your mother year-round 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 supporting our mission, and lending a hand to some of the hardest-working moms out there.

#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.