6,500 Winter Coats for Maine Children

Houlton, ME- Can a miracle happen twice in Maine? Thanks to Operation Warm and Aid for Kids, it can. Over 6,500 brand new winter coats will be arriving in Maine soon to be provided to children living in poverty across the state. Operation Warm’s mission is to provide new winter coats to children in need across the United States. This is the second year Operation Warm has partnered with Aid for Kids.

Aid for Kids first called Operation Warm last winter, desperate to find coats for the children they serve. The all-volunteer agency founded by Ed and Dawn Degenhardt of Houlton serves rural Maine, where snowfall averages 97 inches.

Operation Warm initially could not respond to Aid for Kids request. Operation Warm ships coats to communities based on where money is raised and historically Operation Warm has struggled to raise funds for Maine. Then, a miracle happened. An anonymous donor provided funds to provide coats to where the need was greatest.

“A new coat means so much to impoverished children in rural Maine, where the need is great and the winters are harsh,” said Carey Palmquist, Executive Director of Operation Warm. “Fortunately, an anonymous donor has now come through twice to provide coats to Maine children,” said Carey Palmquist, Executive Director of Operation Warm.

Dannette Ellis, Vice President of Aid for Kids is grateful. “Our partnership with Operation Warm has allowed us to offer high quality coats to low-income children across the state. Last year we received overwhelming thanks from grateful recipients and we are so excited to help even more children this year.” Aid for Kids will look for help in distributing the 6,500 coats in coming weeks from its over 30 nonprofit and school partners.

Ellis is especially thankful for Dexter Cowperthwaite, operator of a trucking business in Littleton, who agreed to transport all 6,500 coats from Pennsylvania to Maine. The trucking company had transported the coats last year as well. “It really feels like two miracles,” said Ellis. “First, Operation Warm was able to provide us with so many coats. Then, Dexter Cowperthwaite came through again for us to get them here.”

“My hope is that more individuals, foundations and businesses will join us in the future as we try to support the thousands of families struggling in Maine,” says Palmquist. “Then, we can send even more coats earlier in the winter season.”

Operation Warm, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit providers of new winter coats to children in need. Operation Warm’s vision is that every child wearing a new winter coat is healthy, able to attend school regularly and develop a strong self-esteem. In the winter of 2012-2013, Operation Warm served over 200,000 children. In February 2012, Operation Warm served its one MILLIONTH child.

Aid for Kids’ mission is improving life for children and families worldwide. Domestically, the ‘Other Maine’ Project serves impoverished families in rural Maine. Aid for Kids is an all-volunteer agency in a rural area and depends on 200 motivated, eager community members who transport, distribute, sort, and inventory clothing, books, and supplies to Maine schools and agencies throughout the year. For more information about Aid for Kids, visit www.aidforkids.org.

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