SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s been warm lately, but winter will strike before we know it. So it’s important kids are staying bundled up. Firefighters with the Syracuse Fire Department stopped by McKinley-Brighton Elementary School on Monday morning to make sure kids have the winter gear they need to stay warm.
Having a warm winter hat and coat is a necessity many of us don’t think twice about.
“Everybody knows in Syracuse there’s a need with cold weather. It’s one thing that will always come,” Robert Brandt, Syracuse Firefighter IAFF Local 280.
But for some families, a winter coat and hat are something they can’t afford. However, Syracuse Firefighters IAFF Local 280 are working to change that, by partnering with Operation Warm. It’s a national non-profit whose mission is to help children who are in need.
“Each kid will get to come down K through 2 and come down and pick a coat of their liking based on color, size things like that. They also pick a winter hat that may match the coat or another color that they might like,” says Brandt.
Nearly 200 kids at McKinley-Brighton went home with their new winter hat and coat on Monday. It’s an annual tradition Syracuse firefighters have been doing for about six years, visiting different schools throughout the city each year. Before visiting a school, firefighters raise money, which is then used to buy coats and hats for kids in need.
“This is an awesome, awesome program and we’re very blessed to have them come to our school today to give out coats and hats,” says Eric Patterson, Principal at McKinley-Brighton Elementary School.
“You don’t know if these kids have a winter coat. They could be excited because it’s a new coat or they could be excited because it’s a need that they really need fulfilled,” says Brandt.
Brandt says the need continues to grow each year and what keeps them coming back is the kids and their smiling faces.