Winter coat drive for youngsters begins in Wilmington

Wide-eyed toddlers and enthusiastic students donned brand-new winter coats at Wilmington’s West Center City Early Learning Center as part of a national mission to deliver coats to families in need.

Horizon Services, a local heating, air-conditioning and plumbing company, partnered with Operation Warm to distribute 80 coats.  It was the first of several planned distributions in December.

“Sometimes parents have to make tough decisions in choosing not to buy a coat for their kids,” said Horizon Services Vice-President Mark Aitken.  “We chose coats for kids because we want kids to be warm.  We want them to feel good about themselves.”

“We want to make a difference in people’s lives,” Aitken said.

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Operation Warm, based in Chadds Ford PA, provides coats to children in poverty or in need in 39 states, according to Chief Operating Officer W. Sanford Miller Jr.  He says next year, Operation Warm will provide its 1,000,000th coat to a child somewhere in the United States.

“Because of the economy, people are having a great deal of trouble with the fundamental things like food, shelter and clothing,” Miller said.  “The need for coats and the need to help people has increased monumentally in the last two or three years.”

According to Aitken, $5 from each December invoice will go to Operation Warm.  Last year, the company was able to contribute $15,000, which translated into 1,000 new winter coats for youngsters in the area.Operation Warm

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