Brand New Coats Bring Joy During a Week of National Grief


On the afternoon of February 14th, high schools students across the nation were anxious for the end-of-class bell to ring. It was Valentine’s Day, and many had been laughingly exchanging heart emoji’s between classes.

As our entire nation now knows, a devastating incident was about to take place in Parkland, Florida: the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Parkland is a town that Niche reviews calls “quaint,” “quiet” and “safe.”

A week after this heart-breaking incident, Grace Sica, Operation Warm’s Director of Partnerships, found herself in an elementary school in southeastern Maine, preparing for one final coat giving event of the year. Grace was only too aware of the sadness that so many people were feeling.

Helping Others Eases the Pain of Parkland

Proving brand new coats to children in need is a joyful experience for everyone involved, and Grace was determined not to allow a single shadow to fall over the children that Operation Warm would serve that day.

“We went into that elementary school and provided a brand new winter coat to every single child,” Grace said. “At this particular school, 60 percent of children qualify for national free and reduced meal programs. In other words, they were from low income families. These are the children that Operation Warm serves – the children who need support the most.”

News Crews look for the Good in People

Operation Warm’s coat-giving event drew in many reporters from Maine. The local news crews wanted, or maybe even needed, to give their audience some good news about good people who were caring for public school children.

“Each reporter came up to me to share a similar insight, “Grace says. “They wanted me to know that they were really excited to cover such a positive school story. I heard, ‘It is a tough week after the Parkland tragedy’ more than once.”

The reporters’ confessions really resonated with Grace. “Maine is the farthest north one can go on the East Coast, and still the devastating Parkland shooting had an impact,” she says. “But the innate desire for good people to protect our children is alive and well. The innate desire for good news to balance out the bad news is alive, too.”

Yes, Operation Warm’s mission is to provide brand new coats to children in need, but it is so much more than a coat. We believe that every child deserves the warmth, confidence and hope that a brand new coat can provide.

Thanking Good People for Their Support

Grace Sica’s was thankful, about Operation Warm’s community and corporate partners and also about members of the media. “Thank you to all of our partners across the country who helped to make children feel more secure this winter,” Grace says.

She continued, “Thank you to the reporters who came out nationwide to cover these events. We appreciate your commitment to capture and share the hope and joy that the Operation Warm team of supporters gave to hundreds of thousands of school children this year.”

Join Grace in supporting the children who need your help the most.

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