‘Operation Warm’ provides coats for 100+ GIPS students in need

Local4 News at 10
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 5:44 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Hearts got a little bit warmer Wednesday as we continue to inch closer to Christmas.

Grand Island Fire & Rescue teamed up with the Grand Island Police Department and Grand Island Public Schools to help kids in need. They did that by handing out more than 100 coats to local students over at Howard Elementary School.

It’s all part of the nationwide effort titled ‘Operation Warm,’ which has dished out more than 4 million coats since it began. For one area police officer, he says being involved in this particular event was a no-brainer for him.

”It makes you feel good because you’re providing that (for them),” said GIPD Officer Tyler Noel. “You know, they go home, and they just love those new coats. A new coat means a lot to these kids, and it provides those warm coats for kids that may not have them. It’s important to have that connection with the kids and provide the necessities.”

”You see these smiles on these kids’ faces - that’s exactly what we do this for, to make sure they got a warm coats,” added Captain Justin Ferris of the Grand Island Fire Department. “Sometimes this is their first warm coat ever.”

Grand Island Public Schools has hosted this coat drive for the past 10 years, and in recent years it’s meant more than 100 kids per year getting a brand new winter coat.

”This event is really important to our family and to our kids because having a warm coat is a basic need, so this year especially, things are more expensive,” said Amy Hanna, a social worker for Howard Elementary School. “Money is tighter for our families, so having this to take one thing off their plate is awesome.”

Wednesday, a total of 16 students in need picked up brand new winter coats with dozens of area firefighters and police officers there to help the kids try them on. Hanna said it’s a sight that will never get old for her.

“For some of our kids, this is their first new coat or their first new piece of clothing, so you see their eyes light up, and it’s just worth it,” she said. “But also having our law enforcement and firefighters here, it just helps kids know that they’re good people and that they’re safe people to be around, and they shouldn’t be scared if they see them out in the community.”