Operation Warm Winter provided 58 elementary school children with a bag containing a nice new winter coat and winter boots at their annual GIVEAWAY at the Word of Life Assembly of God Church Gym on December 1. Pastor Ken Frazier said that the 58 children represent about 15% of the local elementary school population.
In addition to these children, another 15 children who had not signed up in time for the giveaway are now on a waiting list and will receive coats and boots in the near future.
Alexus Bellino, a junior at Burney High School, organized this year’s Operation Warm Winter for her Senior Project. Her mother, Melissa Bellino, came to help with the distribution.
Ms. Bellino said, “What moved me to do this project was to give back to the community. Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces after they received their gifts was definitely the best part of the project. I hope to do it next year as well.”
Bellino worked in coordination with Kathy Newton and other volunteers from WOLA.
As the children were signed up, they were supplied with paper and crayons that they used to express their gratitude in creative drawings.
In addition to providing coats and boots for children, Operation Warm Winter also collected donations of gently used clothing. These clothes were neatly organized on tables and made available to people in the community who needed them. Ms. Bellino said that any leftover clothing will be donated to the American Cancer Society.
Adults and children who came to the charitable affair were also treated to hot chocolate and cookies by WOLA volunteers.
WOLA began Operation Warm Winter in 2007 under the coordination of Stephanie Pruitt. 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.