Operation Warm Partners with IGS Energy to Help Donate New Coats to Norristown Kids in Need


It’s been an unseasonably warm fall on the East Coast, but on Tuesday, October 17, Philadelphia and its surrounding areas received their first frost advisory. As luck would have it, this was also the day IGS Energy visited Gotwals Elementary School in Norristown, PA to provide 500 brand-new coats to children in need.

This event at Gotwals Elementary School was made possible through a partnership between IGS Energy, a local natural gas and electricity supplier, and Operation Warm, a non-profit organization that provides brand-new winter coats to children in need.

The mission of IGS Energy is to keep its customers warm and happy, aligning accurately with the mission of Operation Warm, which is why IGS Energy plans to donate up to 10,000 coats this year through their Bundle Up campaign.

IGS Energy employee volunteers arrived at the Norristown school with open minds and full hearts, eager to provide the children living in their communities with warm winter coats. After unpacking the coat boxes and hanging the signs, it was clear the IGS Energy employees could not wait any longer to get started assisting nearly 500 elementary school students pick out new coats.

“We’re passionate about our partnership with Operation Warm,” Jen Bowden, IGS Energy Director of Community Investment, says. “We feel that there’s a great energy between what we do, keeping people warm, and the mission of Operation Warm.”

Jen Bowden with IGS Energy helps a student at Gotwals Elementary pick out a new coat.

The IGS Energy employees’ passion was evident and so was the enthusiasm of the teachers and faculty at Gotwals Elementary School, as they watched their students’ faces light up with joy.

“The kids are so excited,” Gina Kroll, Gotwals Elementary School teacher, says. “It looks like they’re just getting off the runway, like they’re famous, like ‘Look at me, I have this brand-new jacket.’ They’re just so excited. Every kid that comes out here has a smile on their face. It brought tears to my eyes, seeing my kids walk out and each and every one of them had that smile, just knowing that they’re going to be warm this winter.”

Several IGS employee volunteers commented on the changing disposition of a handful of students, noting many students were shy when they first walked in the room, but after putting on their new coats, they were laughing, talking and ‘really coming out of their shells.’

As if the excitement of the students wasn’t enough, throw in a speech from a principal overwhelmed with emotion and you’ll really feel the love.

“I see their smiles, they feel like, you know, they matter and that is what is important,” Jeanette Fernandez, Principal at Gotwals Elementary School, says.

According to Fernandez, Gotwals Elementary School is a Title 1 school and all of the students receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch.

In addition to Gotwals Elementary, IGS Energy will visit three other schools in Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh to give away coats to kids in need.

Since 2014, IGS Energy’s donations have contributed to more than 4,400 new coats being given to kids in need throughout the energy supplier’s core markets.

“We’re dedicated to giving back to the communities where we live and work,” Kerri Ward, director of corporate communications at IGS, says. “For our Bundle Up campaign, when a current or new customers ‘bundles’ our products together, we make a donation to Operation Warm to help children stay warm this season. We partnered with Operation warm because there is such a strong alignment between their mission and our business – the value of keeping someone warm.”

Operation Warm seeks to inspire hope and empower communities by manufacturing and distributing high-quality, new winter coats children in need throughout the US. The nonprofit works with organizations at a community-level, assisting local advocates to help children receive coats in their own backyard. Operation Warm’s vision is that every child wearing a new winter coat is warm, feels valued, and is empowered to get to school and gain an education.

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