The Word of Life Assembly of God Church Operation Warm Winter Giveaway took place on November 11 from 3-6 p.m. People had already begun to line up outside at 2 p.m. According to Vince Wall, one of the WOLA volunteers, when the doors opened at 3 p.m. more than 40 people came into the lobby to get warm winter gloves, hats, boots, and gloves.
After the first rush a steady stream continued to come to find clothes. Some people came to donate clothes. Clothing left over after the event will be donated to the Good News Rescue Mission in Redding.
Volunteers Bon Edwards, Jennifer Mitchell Penn, Vince Wall, Tiffany Rieffanaugh, Kathy Newton and Emily Biles were all present to help with the Giveaway.
WOLA began Operation Warm Winter in 2007 under the coordination of Stephanie Pruitt. The Giveaway is one part of the program. It makes warm winter clothing available for anyone in need. Before the event, donation bins for gently used winter wear are placed in various locations around town.
Another major part of the program involves providing new warm jackets and boots to elementary school children. According to the California Department of Education School Accountability Report Card, 70.3% of children attending Burney Elementary School are socio-economically disadvantaged. Operation Warm Winter works with the school teachers and staff to distribute the jackets and boots to individual children as needed.
The purchase of the jackets and boots is made possible by donations from church members and the community. A major fundraiser for the program the past few years has been the concert by the Ohio Northern University Choir held in the late Spring.
The Operation Warm Winter Board is made up of Kathy Newton, Shaylene Herndon, Irene May, Larry Hagar, Ken Frazier, and Deanna Meeker.
Kathy Newton said, “It’s nice to feel that we could help.”