Coats for Kids offers bundles of help for youngsters
Laila Duncan struggled to slide her hand into the five fingers of her fuzzy new pink gloves.
But when she finally did, she was ready for winter.
“I love it,” Duncan, 8, of East Hills said, sporting a brand new purple winter coat, a pink hat and her fuzzy gloves.
Pittsburgh firefighters and volunteers will hand out about 1,700 coats, hats and gloves to kids at 11 elementary schools during their Coats for Kids program, said Ralph Sicuro, president of Pittsburgh Fire Fighters Local No. 1.
On Saturday, kids stopped by the union office in Hazelwood to pick up winter gear. Firefighters will deliver remaining coats, hats and gloves to the schools of the children who couldn’t make it.
Isabella Schreiner, 8, of Hazelwood slipped off a zip-up pink hooded sweatshirt — the warmest coat she had — to try on a new winter coat.
“This came at a really great time,” said her mother, Dayvanna Schreiner, 39.
Temperatures Saturday and Sunday night were expected to drop into the low 30s, according to the National Weather Service. The mountains surrounding Pittsburgh could see traces of snow this weekend.
Firefighters started their Coats for Kids program three years ago when firefighters noticed too many kids without proper jackets.
“There are a lot of things you can go without, but a jacket isn’t one of them,” Sicuro said.
Pittsburgh’s was the first fire department to partner with Operation Warm, a national organization supplying coats to children all over the United States, said Renee Koerner, the group’s program manager. Operation Warm now works with 250 fire departments in cities big and small.
Sicuro said firefighters will see kids running around all winter wearing jackets they gave them.
“It’s a sense of pride knowing that we were able to help a kid out every day of the winter,” he said.
Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or [email protected].