Operation Warm Winter provided new warm coats and boots to more than a dozen elementary school children at the GIVEAWAY at Word of Life Assembly of God Church (WOLA) on Thursday afternoon between 3-5 p.m. More families came to the program on Thursday to sign up. They will also receive boots and coats in the near future.
Burney High School Junior Kira Hernandez organized Operation Warm Winter as her Senior Project. Burney Elementary School teachers assisted in selecting 15 children who needed warm coats and boots. Parents signed up in advance so that the exact size needed could be purchased. The program is funded by community donations. 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.
In addition, scores of people from the community came to select coats, sweaters, sweat shirts, pants, shirts, and other gently used items that had been donated by people from the community. Altogether, over 200 people signed in for the GIVEAWAY.
One recipient said, “This is such an unexpected blessing. I haven’t had a good warm winter coat for years. I also found a pair of wonderful pants in my size which is almost impossible to find.”
WOLA church secretary Kathy Newton helped Ms. Hernandez to organize the GIVEAWAY at the church. She also helped with fundraising and collecting clothing donations. The Burney High School Leadership Club came in the morning to help set up tables and display clothing. Volunteers helped to man the sign-up tables and oversee the event. Pastor Ken Frazier was present to welcome and chat with all who came.
Operation Warm Winter was started in 2007 when Stephanie Pruitt, a WOLA church member and wife of a BHS teacher, discovered that some elementary school children could not go outside to play during recess in the winter because they did not have adequate winter clothing. Ms. Pruitt ran the program for six years. Parents and community members interested in learning more about the program can contact Burney Elementary School or Kathy Newton at WOLA.
For the last two years, a Burney High School student has organized the program for their Senior Project. Last year junior Alexus Bellino organized the program. This year Kira Hernandez has successfully overseen the operation.
Ms. Hernandez said, “Operation Warm Winter means helping the community out in a way that makes them feel loved and welcome.”