Milwaukee firefighters give new coats to kids in need

MILWAUKEE -- Students at Riley Elementary cheered Monday, November 19th as Milwaukee firefighters rolled up in their big red trucks with boxes of gifts.

The boxes were filled with brand new coats -- one for every child!

"If there`s a need for a coat, this is a great opportunity to just pass something on to help them out to keep them warm," Milwaukee Firefighter Harold Johnson said.

The Milwaukee Fire Department teamed up with Operation Warm -- a non-profit organization that works to provide coats to children in need nationwide.

Now, the fire department is working to make this an annual event.

"We`re hoping to be bigger, so we`re out there currently looking for donations for next year and hopefully we`re going to hit two to three thousand coats," Lt. John Litchford Milwaukee Fire Department said.

More than 1,000 coats were distributed to students at Riley and Kluge Elementary schools on Monday. These schools were chosen because about 90% of the students participate in the free and reduced lunch program.

"This is a very needy area. Many of our students lack the basic needs such as shelter, food and coats," Riley Elementary School Principal Harry Russo said.

All of these coats are brand new!

"Just that extra confidence boost that they get to open their coat and see their name written in it. It`s not their brothers coat. It`s not their sisters coat. They`re not going out and buying it second-hand. This is a brand new coat made especially for them," Renee Koerner with Operation Warm said.

CLICK HERE for additional information on Operation Warm.