Operation Warm seeks donations of winter wear

American Legion Post 79 donated to Operation Warm, a program run by Massena Permanent Firefighters IAFF Local 2220 to provide warm winter coats to Massena children. Donations are still being accepted. Bob Beckstead/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — With colder temperatures rolling in, members of Massena Permanent Firefighters IAFF Local 2220 want to make sure children in Massena stay toasty.

They’re accepting donations to support Operation Warm. Donations may be dropped off at the fire department at any time or can be set up online at wdt.me/7GNCBB. Donations can also be mailed to Massena Permanent Firefighters, 34 Andrews St., Massena, NY 13662.

American Legion Post 79 in Massena did its part by donating $1,000 for the program.

“We would like to thank Massena American Legion Post -79 for their generous donation to help support our Operation Warm program. We are grateful to have your continued support. Thank you for all that you do to help us and others in the community,” Local 2220 members said in a Facebook post announcing the donation.

Operation Warm is a national nonprofit that manufactures brand-new, high-quality coats and shoes for children in need. The organization partners with individuals, community organizations and corporations across North America to provide emotional warmth, confidence to socialize and succeed, and hope of a brighter future by using the gift as a catalyst for community connection.

Members said, thanks to community support from individuals, businesses and organizations like the American Legion, they have been able to provide more than 500 winter coats to children in Massena over the last five years.

The members have purchased and donated more than 70 winter coats to children and families in need at Massena Head Start. That continued a tradition that began in 2016 when they first took part in Operation Warm and purchased 60 coats for Head Start children.

Two years ago, the union purchased enough coats for children in need at Head Start, and had enough left over to donate to children at the Police Activities League of Massena, formerly the Boys and Girls Club. They have also distributed coats during the Massena Central School District’s Ready 4 School event.

In the past, they’ve held fundraising drives and relied on those donations to purchase the coats. But COVID-19 changed that and, rather than seeking donations from residents for the last distribution, funding for the coats came from the members themselves, along with some money that remained from previous fundraising efforts.

Anyone who needs or knows of someone who needs a winter coat can contact the Massena Fire Department at 315-769-2380. Any of the department’s on-duty firefighters will link the caller up with one of the program’s organizers.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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