Hundreds of coats given away in Wisconsin Rapids - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Hundreds of coats given away in Wisconsin Rapids

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) -- The Wisconsin Rapids School District and fire department partnered up to provide coats for children in need.

"[Winter gear] is expensive and there's a need in this community for help with those items," said Rachel Sheets, a Wisconsin Rapids school social worker.

That's why volunteers from Wisconsin Rapids schools and fire department partner with Operation Warm..

Operation Warm is a nation-wide organization that works to give all children the clothing they need to keep warm in the winter.

"We distribute winter clothing to school age children," explained Sheets.

Wisconsin Rapids students in need of winter gear had the opportunity to stop by and pick out a jacket.

Firefighters say, this is a year long project.

"We were able to gather donations online and through mailings. The money is used to purchase brand new coats for children," explained Derek Matykowski, the local president of the International Association of Firefighters.

Organizers say, the event requires many volunteers.

"It's a community-wide and school-wide event. There are a lot of people who helped make this happen," said Sheets.

Parents who came to pick out coats for their children were grateful for this opportunity.

One woman said without this, her child would be wearing a jacket several sizes too small.

Volunteers say, more than 250 families came to pick up coats Saturday. They say that's the busiest day they've ever had.

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