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Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Operation Warm. Don't see your question listed here? Please contact us:


  1.  Why does Operation Warm provide only NEW coats for impoverished children?

  2.  When was Operation Warm started, and what is the organization’s impact?

  3.  How much of my donation goes to provide a child with a coat?

  4.  Is my donation tax deductible?

  5.  How does Operation Warm select their recipients?

  6.  Are there other ways to give or help other than a cash donation?

  7.  You are in 49 states and the District of Columbia.  How do you select the states in which you work and how do I know if you’re in my state?

  8. How can I help provide Operation Warm coats to children in my community?

  9.  Will my donation really make a difference?

  10. May I donate my gently used coats?
















1.  Why does Operation Warm provide only NEW coats to impoverished children? 

Operation Warm believes providing children in need with a BRAND NEW coat gives more than just warmth.  For many children, a new coat may be the only new item the child has ever received. Since 1998, we have seen our coats inspire feelings of pride, excitement and joy, and help to raise the self-esteem and peer acceptance of children struggling in poverty.  Every child deserves the right to feel confident and valued, no matter what their economic background.

2. How long has Operation Warm been in existence?

Operation Warm became incorporated as a 501(c)3 in 2002.  We currently distribute coats in 49 states and the District of Columbia, averaging approximately 325,000 coats annually.  By the end of this year, Operation Warm will have distributed over 2 million coats. 

3. How much of my donation goes to provide a child with a coat?

Operation Warm is very proud to inform donors that 97 cents on every dollar goes directly to the coat program.  3 cents of every dollar raised goes to the overhead expenses necessary to sustaining and growing our mission.  Every donation significantly impacts the life of a child by translating to warmth and happiness through the gift of a brand new winter coat.

4.  Is my donation tax deductible?

Yes, all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Our Federal Tax ID number is 38-3663310.

Click here to view our IRS Determination Letter
Click here to view our 2014-15 990 Form

5. How does Operation Warm select their recipients? 

Due to the scale and breadth of Operation Warm’s mission, we work with community-based organizations to both select and disseminate coats to children in need.  As we gain funding support in communities through grant awards, individual donations, and corporate giving, we contact organizations who are already serving children in the community and ask them to partner with us to distribute coats.  Most typically, we select Title I schools – those schools where 40% or more of their students' families are at or below 150% of the federally prescribed poverty level. It would be cost prohibitive and inefficient for Operation Warm to work directly with beneficiaries, and so our model facilitates quick, efficient and impactful dissemination of coats in time for winter’s harshest weather.  With assistance from schools, shelters, human service agencies and other direct-service organizations, we can ensure that coats go to the children who need them most.  More often than not, these organizations help determine eligibility for a new coat based on the families they serve who are enrolled in the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program – a program established by the Federal government to help low-income families provide 1 or 2 nutritious meals a day at school.

6.  Are there other ways to give or help other than a cash donation?

When possible, Operation Warm welcomes help from volunteers.  First and foremost we encourage enthusiastic supporters to consider hosting a fund-raiser, (car wash, bake sale, talent show, etc.)  Depending upon where you live, there may also be opportunities to volunteer at coat distribution events.  Please check to look for opportunities to volunteer for our organization and/or check out our Resources Page on our web site. Several other fun and creative ways you can help raise funds can be found on the Other Ways to Give page.  We are also grateful for engaged interns!  Our experience is that smart, energetic, creative, and dedicated interns bring tremendous value to our organization.  If you’d like to learn more about an internship with our organization, please e-mail us at  There are always new, fun and exciting projects brewing at Operation Warm, so keep us in mind! 

7.  You are in 49 states and the District of Columbia.  How do you select the states in which you work and how do I know if you’re in my state? 

Operation Warm aspires to provide a new winter coat for every disadvantaged child in the country, one coat at a time, but sadly the number of coats needed exceeds 16.5 million.  As we seek innovative ways to impact as many children as possible, we must rely heavily on creative partnerships with organizations and individuals who share our passion.  We typically focus on areas of the country where there is dire need, and in our focus work to engage the community, seeking grant support and advocacy from organizations already there.  Due to our reliance on funding support to sustain our mission, we cannot bring coats into a community unless we have the funding to cover the cost of the coats.  We always appreciate leads to organizations, foundations, corporations and individuals who might support our work within your community.  Please help us reach out to more children by raising awareness with organizations in your area.  Every child is important to us!  

8.  How can I help provide Operation Warm coats to children in my community?

If you are involved through work or volunteerism with a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, school or church that serves children in need, and can locally raise money expressly for Operation Warm coats, you can join our mission and execute a Donor Managed Program.  These programs help spread our mission through like-minded non-profit organizations who want to help children in need.  Click here for more information on planning your own Donor Managed Programs.

9.  Will my donation really make a difference?

We offer you a resounding “YES!!”  Every dollar counts.  Please know that the provision of warm winter coats is critically important for school attendance.  Children who are absent from school due to illness and cold are missing opportunities to learn, socialize, play, and partake of the two meals a day offered through the school’s meal program.  Our program impacts children beyond warmth by providing a basic need that is integral to their growth, happiness, and hope.  We thank you sincerely for considering a gift to Operation Warm.  Donate by clicking here, or to make a recurring monthly gift, click here.  Our work is made possible ONLY through the generosity of people like you who strive to make a difference in the lives of impoverished children.

10.  May I donate my gently used coats?

While we think it is wonderful you are willing to donate your gently used coats, the Operation Warm program focuses on providing brand new coats to children in need. For each $20 that is donated, a child in the community gets the opportunity to choose a new coat in his or her favorite color and style.  We’ve seen how owning a new coat can inspire feelings of pride and build self esteem.