By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Oklahoma City Public Schools and the national Operation Warm organization have partnered together in the “Coat-A-Kid” initiative to help provide the youngest OKCPS students with warm coats for winter.
“We know our students often do not have the means or support for a warm coat to protect them through the winter, this was evident during the last year’s bitterly cold winter in Oklahoma,” said Amanda Pina, OKCPS Community Relations Specialist.
“This program allows us to engage our community and partner with a nationally recognized organization to help meet the needs of the children in the District,” Pina added.
The initiative was launched last summer with the goal of raising $140,000 by October 1. To date the program has raised $97,076, leaving $42,924 still needed to reach the goal.
“We are continuing the campaign through the end of December in hopes that every OKCPS student in dire need receives a winter coat,” Pina said.
The program allows community members, organizations, faith-based groups and others to donate funds to purchase coats for students. One hundred percent of received donations are used to provide coats for elementary students this winter.
Former Chief Operating Officer & Chief Human Resources Officer of OKC Public Schools, Rod McKinley posted on Facebook, “This is such a great program. We currently have 46,000 students in OKCPS. Many of these students live in poverty and don’t have coats for cold weather.
“We were faced with this situation during our very tough winter last year,” McKinley continued. “During temperatures below zero, it can take as few as 15 minutes for frostbite to occur. Please support this great program to supply cold weather clothing to these students of need. Students should be able to concentrate on learning verses not just trying to survive the cold weather.”
Last year the Oklahoma City community donated more than $101,000 to the campaign and more than 5,000 new winter coats were distributed to children in need throughout the district.
Contributions were received from all across the US from alumni, community members, small and large businesses and corporations, nonprofits, churches and individuals.
The first order of coats has arrived and volunteers are now needed to help sort and deliver them across the district. To volunteer visit here.
Operation Warm was founded In 2002, to counter one of the worst hardships of childhood poverty; the lack of adequate winter clothing. With ninety percent of OKCPS families living at or below the poverty line, warm coats are a luxury that many simply cannot afford when faced with paying other necessary bills such as rent, utilities and food.
Through community-based partnerships Operation Warm provides families with brand new winter coats for their children. Other organizations deliver social work, after school programs, educational assistance programs, life skills training, healthcare offerings, etc.
In 49 states and the District of Columbia, Operation Warm works locally with agencies serving youth. It provides a way for corporate and foundation donors, community and faith based service organizations and corporations looking to give back.
Thanks to in-kind support from manufacturing and transportation partners, Operation Warm is able to deliver warm and stylish coats at cost to over 300,000 children annually.
Operation Warm is a registered 501(c)(3) charity and donations are tax deductible.
To become a sponsor or to make a donation online for the Oklahoma City Coat-A-Kid project, visit www.operationwarm.org/OKCPS
Checks or money orders can be mailed to: Oklahoma City Public Schools Coat A Kid c/o Operation Warm, Inc., 9300 N. May Avenue #400-402, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73120.