HOUSTON – Here in Houston, we’re lucky to have warm weather for most of the year, but when temperatures drop many kids are unprepared for the frosty air.
Luckily, the nonprofit Operation Warm is working to help change that by filling a growing need for winter wear in a truly heartwarming way. Principal Cedric Starks of Frost Elementary in HISD, has witnessed firsthand the positive impact the organization has had on the Houston community.
“I was first connected to Operation Warm through my Wraparound Specialist. We’ve had a few cool days here in Houston, and we noticed that a lot of our students did not have the appropriate attire for the weather. So, she connected us with Operation Warm to ensure that our students would receive jackets or coats to be prepared for the winter,” said Starks.
Operation Warm is a national nonprofit that manufactures new winter coats and athletic shoes for children in under-served populations. While many people might think the need for winter coats is greater in colder areas like Michigan or Maine, Heather Connolly, Operation Warm’s VP of Partnerships, shared a shocking fact.
“On our website we have a wish list, and believe it or not, the city that we have the most requests from is the city of Houston,” said Connolly. “We have over 24,000 requests for coats this year just in the city of Houston alone.”
To help fill this need, Operation Warm teamed up with FedEx to give back in a big way to the Houston community.
“FedEx is a great partner of ours. This month they provided 500 coats to Frost Elementary School in an exciting parade-style fashion delivery...It was a great celebration,” said Connolly.
According to Principal Starks, the parade was a big hit for everyone involved and provided much more to his students than just a jacket.
“There was a lot of cheering and clapping, just an exciting time for the kids even before they received the coats,” said Starks. “A lot of our students don’t have the things that they need like a coat for the winter, so I know the community that I serve, the families that I serve greatly appreciate whatever donations they can receive to improve their lives.”
For Connolly and her team, their mission is as much about providing hope as it is about providing warmth.
“For most of us, you know, we go to our closet every morning and pick out a jacket, but to see that kind of excitement on a child’s face is really why we do what we do,” said Connolly.
For more information or to find out how you can support children in need through Operation Warm, click here.