Operation Warm Celebrates Serving One Million Children

For Immediate Release
Paul Daigle

Operation Warm Celebrates Momentous Milestone: One Million Children Served
Wawa, Salvation Army Philadelphia, and others join Operation Warm as they serve their One Millionth Child

Philadelphia, PA. – On February 27, the Pennsylvania-based, national organization, Operation Warm will serve its one millionth child.  The celebratory event will take place at the Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Philadelphia, a community partner which helped give out over 10,000 coats with Operation Warm in December.  Longtime corporate sponsor and partner in the region, Wawa, will also be present.  Staff from La Comunidad, a non-profit in Kennett Square which received Operation Warm’s very first coats in 1998, will be present as well.

Originally launched to address a local problem with underserved children in a Philadelphia suburb, Operation Warm has grown nationally to address the serious need throughout the U.S. for a basic essential; a warm winter coat.  Since its inception in 1998, OW has distributed coats in 33 states.  “I never dreamed when I purchased those first coats in 1998, that we would be standing here celebrating serving one million children.  We’ve given over 250,000 new coats to children just in Pennsylvania” says founder, Richard Sanford who will be speaking at the event.

“We give coats to kids who need them most,” says Carey Palmquist, Executive Director of Operation Warm.  “With the state of the economy, parents are struggling. Oftentimes when the choice is food, shelter or clothing, most parents are going to feed and shelter their children first; clothing is not a top priority but it’s still a huge necessity especially in freezing temperatures during the winter that can prohibit children from attending school.”

“Many children we serve have never had a new winter coat,” continues Palmquist. “Having something new is vital to a child’s self-esteem; a new coat tells a child he or she is valuable. We manufacture our coats that would retail at over $40, so it’s a huge contribution to a family in need who can spend the money on groceries or rent instead.” 

Wawa has been partnering with Operation Warm for over 8 years.  At the 8th Annual Community Partners Breakfast that kicks off of Delco’s Operation Warm Campaign, host Howard Stoeckel, CEO of Wawa, surprised the crowd with his announcement of a $10,000 donation.

“We believe Operation Warm is a very meaningful program for the children in our community. When Wawa can help thousands of children stay warm, attend school and feel good about themselves, they we are truly helping our community”, said Stoeckel.

Major Dixon, Associate Director of Operations for the Salvation Army of Philadelphia, agrees.  “I can’t tell you how thankful we are for Operation Warm.  Their coats have not only made a real difference in so many children’s lives, it’s also opened the door for us to help serve families even more.”

The event also marks the launching of a new fundraising campaign entitled, ‘The NEXT Million’.  The campaign seeks to raise one million dollars to help with the purchase and production of the next million coats they hope to give to children in need over the coming years. 

“We want to be able to serve even more children.  The NEXT Million campaign will help us do just that” says Palmquist.

Electronic version of this press release.

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