Firefighters warm up local kids with winter coat drive in Paducah, KY

Updated: Nov. 12, 2019 at 10:04 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - As the weather gets colder, coat drives are warming up in the Heartland.

The Paducah Fire Department is organizing a coat drive to prepare hundred of students for winter.

“Some kids in the middle of winter are just in like a t-shirt and a pair of jeans," said Lt. Jennifer Fuchs. "They don’t have a coat so they’re outside freezing.”

Fuchs is one of the organizers for Operation Warm with Paducah Fire Department and AIFF Local 168.

“Every kid deserves a coat," said Fuchs. "We started with one school, one grade. We branched out the next year we hit two schools, so now we are at three schools and a little bit of head start students so we’re given upwards of 200 this year.”

During the giveaway firefighters help students pick out their favorite color coat and write their names on the inside.

“There have been times where we’ve had kids say I’ve never had a coat of my own before, you know it kind of takes you back a step," said Fuchs. "That is not ever easy to hear..”

Firefighters with AIFF Local 168 hope to deliver the winter coats to students by Thanksgiving and say the warm clothes help set them up for success.

“If kids don’t have coats, they’re not warm, they don’t go to the bus stop they don’t go to school," said Fuchs. "If they don’t go to school, they don’t get educated. If they don’t get educated their likelihood of a beneficial future is slim to none. This is the future of Paducah for us. This is our community. We are there to take care of them, so this is something that we take a lot of pride in and I know that the kids appreciate it.”

Other organizations that are also collecting and handing out coats this winter include the Cape Girardeau Salvation Army and the Heartland Rotary of Williamson County.

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