WEST BRANDYWINE — As Old Man Winter dishes out some of the season’s most bitter cold, students at Reeceville Elementary School are staying relatively warm and cozy.
For the past 23 years, Operation Warm has given away more than 4 million winter coats to needy students. On Wednesday, 357 Reeceville students were eligible to pick out a free coat from among stacks of winter jackets.
Along with partner iPipeline, a leading provider of no code/low code content-based digital solutions for the life insurance and financial services industry, the entire student body at the Title 1 school, with more than 60 percent of needy students participating in the free and discount school lunch program, were gifted brand-new jackets.
With so much to choose from, first-grader Barry picked out a pink, green and white coat. He soon changed his mind and chose a long blue coat.
“It’s a cool coat and really warm,” Barry said with a smile visible through his COVID mask.
Amanda Giordano, Quality Assurance Analyst with iPipeline, helped Barry size on the coats and said that it is “really cool” to serve the community surrounding the company’s Exton headquarters.
Third-grader Savlo picked out a brownish-gray coat.
“It feels good and keeps you so warm, I’m excited because it’s my favorite color,” Savlo said.
Heather Connolly is Vice President of Partnerships for Operation Warm.
“We really believe in giving the child the ability to choose,” Connolly said. “The smiles on the children’s faces say it all.”
Diana Woodard is a Reeceville school counselor. She said the coats were appreciated and noted that several of the students lost all their material goods in this summer’s Ida storm. She also said that several students emigrated from South and Central America and didn’t realize they would need winter coats.
“This is an amazing opportunity for our kids, especially with how cold it’s been lately,” Woodard said.
Daphne Thomas is the COO with iPipleine and said that the students were especially excited to pick out their favorite colors.
“Some are so excited to have something brand-new that is all theirs to take home and put their name on it,” Thomas said. “We are appreciated and received many thank yous.”
Operation Warm is a national non-profit which partners with compassionate individuals, community organizations and corporations. For more information, go to www.operationwarm.org.
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