Operation Warm to help SPM kids

Published 11:28 am Saturday, September 26, 2009

FRANKLIN — The Franklin Rotary Club is seeking donations for Operation Warm, a charity started by a Rotary Club member in Pennsylvania 11 years ago that helps give children in need winter coats.

Rotarians will raise money for winter coats for approximately 36 students at S.P. Morton Elementary School in Franklin.

Rotary Club President Doug Boyce said people interested in making a donation to the charity should make their checks out to Operation Warm and put Franklin Rotary Project in the memo line. The checks should be sent to the Franklin Rotary Club, P.O. Box 304, Franklin, VA 23851.

Boyce said if extra coats can be purchased beyond those needed by the S.P. Morton Elementary School students, they will be distributed through the Franklin Cooperative Ministry.

According to the Operation Warm Web site, the charity was started in Longwood, Pa. by Dick Sanford in 1998.

Sanford read a story in his local newspaper that said local children were freezing while waiting for their school bus because they had no winter coats. Puzzled by how this could occur in a relatively affluent Pennsylvania community, Sanford began to look at children on their way to school and noticed that many were not wearing winter coats.

With his own money, Sanford went to a local department store and bought 58 coats. With the help of the Longwood Rotary Club, they distributed the coats to local children who did not have them.

The Web site said that since 1998, Operation Warm has provided over 500,000 new coats to children in over 26 states across the country. It is now one of the largest non-profits in the country distributing new coats.

Operation Warm partners with a wide range of organizations to find and support children in schools, churches and other social service organizations, whose families cannot afford winter coats.