TACOMA -- Tacoma firefighters are helping local children overcome obstacles that come with cold weather.
Through an effort called “Operation Warm,” the Local 31 Union raised $6,000 to help provide new coats to hundreds of children in need.
The coats , which cost about $30 each, are made in America by disabled veterans.
“Firefighters give back to the community as a living and it’s important to do off the job as well,” said Ryan Mudie, Union President.
At McCarver Elementary, where nine out of ten kids come from poverty, basic necessities like winter clothing can be tough to afford.
“There’s even times when ill give them my own coat to use. They’re using their money for other things, food electricity bill what not,” said Adriana Julian, Assistant Principal.
According to Julian, whenever the temperature drops, absences go up.
“If kids aren’t in school learning then they aren’t achieving,” said Julian.
“If you’ve got kids with coughing, sneezing and runny noses its disruptive,” said Nicole Melford, a parent.
Melford and other parents believe the donation will help improve grades.
“If we can make sure kids have jackets and stay warm then they’ll be able to learn as much as they can,” said Melford.
Clarence Wahleithner, a single father, is thankful for his daughter Haven’s brand new coat.
“Shes a wonderful girl and she deserves it. Even if we aren’t able to help her she still needs the help,” he said.
Local 31 firefighters plan to raise more money to give out even more coats.
“Our children are our future and we want to make sure they have everything they need to be successful,” said Mudie.
The hope is they remember this generosity and pay it forward when they become adults.
“What an amazing gift to have. This something they’ll definitely remember,” said Julian.