Philadelphia, PA, November 29, 2018 --(PR.com
)-- Operation Warm, a national nonprofit that creates brand new, high-quality coats and gives them away to children in need, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this fall in hopes to provide their 3 millionth coat by winter. This year, they’ve received a record 86,000 requests for coats for kids from across America, including organizations helping those impacted by Camp Fire.
“The sheer volume of people reaching out to us this year is unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” explains Rich Lalley, Director of Development at Operation Warm. “After-school programs, homeless shelters, community missions, low-income schools... we are receiving emails every hour asking for warm coats. In the last several days alone we’ve gotten over 6,000 coat requests, some due to the California wildfires.”
In a booming economy, it may seem odd that a nonprofit that provides a simple gift like a new winter coat is receiving so many requests. And it is true, while the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 10 years, the issue isn’t lack of work, it’s the stagnation of wages vs. inflation.
“Many of the children we serve come from hardworking families,” Lalley continues. “The trouble is, their parents may work fulltime, but if you’re a single mother with two kids and make less than $10/hr, you still live below the poverty line in the U.S. And when winter comes along, expenses increase. Heating bills and healthcare during the months kids get sick the most, they can really take a toll. Often times there simply isn’t enough left over for a coat.”
The requests are being compounded this year due to the devastation from Hurricane Florence and the California wildfires, Camp Fire. Operation Warm is working with partners on the ground, like nonprofit Delivering Good in California, to help get coats to those recovering from natural disasters.
“Many of us may ask, ‘Why coats for California kids? They don’t need coats in California,’” says Lalley. “But many of the victims from the fires live in Northern California, where early morning temperatures are frequently below freezing. A simple gift like a warm coat will help keep a child a safe this year while their family rebuilds. No child should go without a coat.”
To help fulfill the requests to the Coats for Kids Wish List, Operation Warm is launching a Giving Tuesday campaign to raise money to manufacture and deliver coats across the country.
“Every $20 we raise will allow us to create and ship a brand new coat to a child who needs it most,” explains Lalley. “Our coats are made in a wide variety of colors, with a soft fleece lining and front pockets, and a tag on the inside that reads “Made Just for You” where a child can write in their name.”
Operation Warm’s goal is to raise $50,000 on Giving Tuesday, November 27th, to provide 2,500 new coats to kids in need. The organization will continue to fundraise over the holidays and winter season to provide as many coats as possible.
“With help from our partners we’ve already delivered over 240,000 coats this fall,” says Lalley. “If we can meet our goal, we’ll be able to serve over 400,000 kids by winter, and reach our 3 millionth child since we began in 1998.”
To learn more about Operation Warm’s Coats for Kids Wish List, visit operationwarm.org.
About Operation Warm
Operation Warm is a national nonprofit that creates brand new, high-quality coats and gives them away to children in need. Every child, regardless of their economic situation, deserves a brand new coat. We partner with compassionate individuals and organizations across North America to give a gift of warmth, confidence and hope. Operation Warm believes a brand new coat is more than a coat, promoting self-esteem, school attendance and outdoor play.
To help Operation Warm reach their 3 millionth child this winter, get involved at OperationWarm.org