A new coat gives more than warmth to Wauconda students
The cold December air was not a concern for 300 new coat owners Tuesday at Wauconda Grade School. Operation Warm, a North American company that produces and distributes winter coats for families that need the help, provided the warmth for the third year in a row at the school,
"We are very fortunate," said principal Debbie Monroe. Her school has a 58% low-income population. "Most of the families here today have a student who goes here, but some don't. We don't turn anybody away."
Operation Warm uses donation funds to manufacture winter coats that are designed to give a child physical and emotional warmth and confidence to socialize and succeed. According to its mission statement, "A new coat is more than a coat."
Monroe says that is obvious when she sees what is in the lost and found box each year.
"There are nice, expensive things in there. But you know what's not in there. These coats," she says.
After choosing a new coat in a plastic wrapper, each child is encouraged to write a thank-you note that will be given to Operation Warm. Then teachers help each child write their name inside the liner with a permanent marker.
"Yes, it gives them ownership and makes it special for them," says Monroe.
Chicago-based Enchanted Backpack also donated socks, hats and shirts for each child.