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