When a little boy at George G Blaisdell Elementary School was asked if he needed a warm coat for winter earlier this year, he told a staff member he didn’t need one because, like a superhero, he had a “force field” that would keep him warm.
Fortunately, staff members knew the little guy needed a new coat and made sure he was one of the numerous children who received new winter jackets and coats Monday through the Operation Warm project sponsored locally by the Rotary Club of Bradford (Pennsylvania, US – D 7280) and the Blaisdell Foundation.
The club delivered more than 162 coats to GGB as well as School Street Elementary School, Floyd C
Fretz Middle School as well as other programmes in the community, said Rotary Club President Angela Erway.
The Rotary partnered with individual donors within the club as well as the Blaisdell Foundation to raise the funds needed for over 162 coats.
She said the club raised over $3,000 for this year’s project.
“This is the third year our club has worked with Operation Warm to provide new winter coats for children that the school district identifies,” Erway said.
“We also raised enough funds to purchase coats in smaller sizes to distribute to Head Start and for children who receive Early Intervention services.”
Principal Erin Waugaman said the school gave out every coat provided through Operation Warm last year to students in need.
“Paul Ridley (Rotary Club member) contacted me this year and asked if we could use the coats again and I said, ‘We definitely can use the coats again,’” Waugaman said.
Erway said several of the club members had “memorable moments” from last year’s delivery of coats to the school children.
“To see the smiles, and hear the squeals as students literally jumped with excitement as they tried on their new coats, left quite an impression on us,” she said.
“One boy loved his new coat so much that he refused to take it off, even though it was obviously a couple of sizes too small. He was eventually convinced to wiggle out of it once we were able to find an identical coat to fit him.”
Erway said a brand-new coat is important for children as it not only provides physical warmth, but can also build self-esteem and peer acceptance for youngsters.
“This project enabled the Rotary Club of Bradford to support the community and practice one of our club’s core mottos, Service Above Self,” she noted, while adding the club is grateful to the Blaisdell Foundation for its contribution.
Ron Orris, of the Blaisdell Foundation, said the organisation “is always happy to do things for the children, that’s our mission.”
“This one we love, especially getting to see (the children) put their coats on,” he continued. “We’re just tickled pink to do it.”
Source: The Bradford Era