More than 200 Carson City students will be warm for the winter thanks to the Carson City Fire Department.
Members of the local International Firefighter Association handed out coats Monday to students in need as a part of the Operation Warm program.
“As a part of the IFF, we recognize a need in our community, especially for the less fortunate students and we wanted to do anything we could to help give them a new coat,” said fire Captain Brad Mihelic. “It just gives them the basic necessity to succeed.”
This was the third year the first responders raised donations to buy students in the McKinney-Vento Students in Transitioning Program winter jackets. Students in the McKinney-Vento program are those who don’t live in a fixed or adequate residence.
“It is important because we want to be a part of our community and do anything we can to help those that we serve,” Mihelic said. “It is getting colder and it is becoming a necessity for them to have suitable clothing.”
When the students no longer have to worry about being warm, they improve on their academic and social skills.
“They need to be able to concentrate on school and learning and their friends and not have to worry about concentrating on being warm,” said Peggy Sweetland, director of McKinney-Vento. “This is huge for them, and without the donations and the generosity of the Carson City Fire Department, hundreds of students would be without adequate warm clothing.” Sweetland said they often see students in transition will only have layers with sweatshirts on top, which isn’t usually good enough come the winter months.
“That just doesn’t work for snow and rain because it bites right through,” Sweetland said.
“And many of those kids are out in the elements more frequently than other kids so having warm jackets allows the playing field to be more leveled and they can be successful.”
The firefighters unloaded dozens of boxes filled with colorful, puffy winter jackets as students lined up to try on their new coats.
“I like them because they are fuzzy on the inside,” said first-grader Caydence Bowers. “They’re great.”