Firefighters from the Wentzville Fire Protection District (WFPD) and employees of the Wentzville School District (WSD) packed hundreds of coats to be distributed to kids in need last week. WFPD firefighters partnered with Operation Warm and the WSD for the eighth consecutive year to supply nearly 300 brand new coats to elementary students identified by school district counselors.
The coats are usually distributed to the students at an event at Fire Station #1, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the coats will be delivered by school counselors directly to students this year. "Even in the midst of a pandemic, our community partners continue to demonstrate support for our students and families," said WSD Chief Communications Officer Mary LaPak. "Wentzville firefighters found a way, without their traditional large-scale fundraising event, to raise the funds to purchase new coats for students who need them most. We cannot thank them enough for their continued partnership and support to ensure the basic needs of our students are met."
Operation Warm and the Coats for Kids Foundation were founded in 1998 on a national level to assist local organizations with providing quality coats to kids in need. "We were glad to be able to continue to keep the Coats for Kids program going," said WFPD Firefighter/Paramedic Michael Szarwinski. "Although distribution was different, without being able to see the smiles on the children's faces as they pick out their new coat, knowing they will be warm makes us smile." Over the past eight years, the WFPD has supplied almost 4,500 coats for WSD students through Operation Warm.