Winter came a little early in Wisconsin this year, and quite frankly, many families were unprepared. As temperatures dropped and snow fell in October, students across the city were walking to school in sweatshirts, lacking the warmth of a coat. The staff at some LUMIN Schools even temporarily suspended outside recess as too many children did not have the appropriate cold-weather gear to safely play outdoors.
Imagine the joy when non-profit Operation Warm contacted LUMIN Schools to offer free coats to students. LUMIN enthusiastically accepted the offer, and worked to plan a coat giveaway event at Granville Lutheran just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Operation Warm events are unique in that they feel more like a shopping experience for kids. Volunteers work one-on-one with children to help them choose a new coat among a variety of color options. The volunteers then ensure the coat is the perfect fit before writing that child's name inside the jacket - the final step of making it their own.
This year's volunteers were also donors. Brookfield-based boutique Altar'd State and and more than 100 employees at software company Zywave, donated the funds to ensure every student at Granville, more than 260 of them, received a new coat.
"This makes a huge difference for children and their families," said Trenae Howard, principal at Granville Lutheran School. "Every child deserves to be warm, but that hasn't been the reality for some of the kids we serve. We are so grateful to Operation Warm, Altar'd State and Zywave for meeting our scholars' basic needs."
Each time a new class walked in to the gym for their turn to "shop," there were audible squeals of joy and laughter.