IAFF Firefighters Bring Warmth to DC Children
Firefighters in the DC area understand how important it is to take care of our children. Since 2013, Operation Warm has been teaming up with IAFF Firefighters within the beltway to get brand new, American-made winter coats to every child living in poverty. It is one way IAFF firefighters bring warmth to DC children.
Washington DC Is in a Housing Crisis
In 2010, the city suffered an economic depression. As housing rates began to increase, so did the number of families who couldn’t afford a home. Statistics show that nearly 1 in 5 children in the District live in these situations. In Washington DC alone about 28,539 citizens live below the poverty line, and 4,667 of those are homeless children and their parents. Families without affordable housing tend to spend $150 less for food. For their children, this means less meals.
Did you know that 76% of students in Washington DC were enrolled in the free lunch program in 2013. For them, attending school is the only way they can get a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner. School districts around the country are beginning to work with charities that try to provide children with food over the summer. In winter, however, unpredictable weather can make it harder for families to prepare. Access to winter coats relieves parents of the choice of a child freezing while walking to the bus stop or skipping school all together. Most parents may choose to keep children without winter coats home, rather than risking injuries and sickness.
The Long Winter Season
Weather in Washington DC can reach as low as 29 degrees in the winter. Not to mention that the city gets more than a foot of snow, on average per winter, unless there is a blizzard. During Blizzard Jonas 2016, DC received almost 18 inches of snow, according to the Washington Post. Temperatures really begin to drop in December and typically don’t become warmer again until late February. For children without coats, that is when the decision to go to school or not begins. They don’t have the means to be driven to school and must walk or wait outside for the bus through the harsh conditions with nothing more than a sweatshirt. Thankfully, Local IAFF Firefighters are joining together to help these children get the education and meals that they need.
Over the past few years, DC area IAFF Firefighters have raised over $230,000 for brand new American-made Operation Warm coats. Through fundraising, donations and coat giving events over 7,000 children in poverty received coats. That’s 7,000 more children who were able to attend school. 7,000 more children who received the nutritional meals they might not have had at home.