2012 Operation Warm Heats Up!
Operation Warm Jackets is a Rotary Club of Orange project that provides new warm winter jackets to young needy inner-city school children. Since 2010 the Rotary Club of Orange has given winter jackets to almost 5,000Bridgeport, West Haven and New Haven school children. Each child had all been identified by their schools as being in need of warm clothing.
This year, New Haven School principals have been asked again to select jacket recipients. New Haven has thousands of families with children living below the federal poverty level. The jackets are purchased from the not-for-profit Operation Warm Company, a distributer in Pennsylvania that sells well-made, stylish boys and girls winter jackets at cost to NPO’s such as Rotary Clubs across the country.
The Rotary Club of Orange buys and volunteers transport the jackets to the schools. There is great need. Cold weather is here. These children must not be turned away! Please help Rotary to purchase these jackets. For every $15 a child can stay warm. Please complete the coupon and send it along with your check to the Rotary address on the coupon.
Operation Warm Historical Retrospective
This project began in October, 2010 when one of our club Rotarians received a flyer from
Operation Warm, a distributor of winter jackets for children through charitable organizations
such as Rotary. He discovered it is run by Rotarians and “sells” its jackets at cost through 30-40
Rotary Clubs and a few other agencies around the United States. It has been in business for
over 10 years and has distributed more than a million of these jackets to needy children.
The club decided we would pursue this project and asked the Home School Coordinator for
Blackrock and Edison Schools in Bridgeport if there was a need for winter jackets among her
students. She immediately identified about 50. The Rotary Club of Orange purchased 120
jackets and gave them to the two Bridgeport schools, the Bridgeport Rescue Mission and two
shelters in New Haven. They were much appreciated and we promised to do more next year.
We decided that we wanted to do this project again in 2011-2012 and hopefully expand the
number of jackets to be donated. So, in October, 2011, Baxter Walsh, our Club Community
Service Chairperson asked the Superintendent of Schools in Bridgeport, to pass the word
among his schools that they should identify really needy students who did not have warm
winter clothes. He assigned Dolores Mason., District Facilitator at the Bridgeport Parent Center
to coordinate this effort. She notified the schools and collected requests for 2,231 jackets! Our
Rotary Club could not afford to satisfy that need, but was able, with a financial grant from our
Rotary District to buy and distribute 444 jackets. That helped, but did not satisfy the greater
Late in December, we were notified by the Operation Warm Company that a benefactor had
purchased a large number of jackets and that we could ‘buy” these jackets for just the cost of
warehousing! A friend of one of our Club Rotarian who owns a trucking firm donated a large
tractor trailer to pick up a load at the factory outside Philadelphia. We told the factory we
wanted a “truckload of jackets”. They piled 4,200 jackets into the trailer and they were
delivered to Connecticut! Another Rotarian, a real estate executive, found a client who donated
his warehouse for temporary storage of the jackets. Another friend of Rotary brought his fork
lift and we unloaded 21 pallets of jackets and placed them in the warehouse. Through the
School Volunteer Association of Bridgeport, Rotary received a grant from the United Way of
$1,000. That amount combined with several personal gifts from Rotarians and friends of Rotary
paid for the warehousing charges.
The shipment arrived just two days before Christmas, and on the 23rd of December the pallets
were stored safely in the warehouse. In three short weeks, Rotarians and volunteers worked
to break down the pallets and to put the various orders together for the various public schools
and shelters and by January 13, 2011 4,200 jackets had been delivered.
In total 4,644 jackets were distributed from December 2011 thru January 2012.
In response to this project, the work of Rotary was spread by local and town newspapers.