Made in the USA Coats: Good for Jobs, Good for the Environment, Good For Kids
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.