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SPFD kicks off annual Coats for Kids campaign

By Brandi Makuski

Stevens Point firefighters have kicked off their annual fundraising efforts to provide new winter coats for local kids in need.

The Coats for Kids program is now entering its fourth year at SPFD. Organized by firefighter/paramedic Matt Zander, the goal is to place a brand new winter coat on each local child who needs one.

“We like to go around to the schools and size the kids first; before the coats come in,” Zander said. “The only thing worse than not having a ‘good’ winter coat is not having a winter coat that fits right.”

The department works with Operation Warm, a national organization that provides quality winter coats, made in the United States, to students via fundraising platforms like the one at SPFD.

Firefighters use discretion while working with the kids, Zander said, taking private referrals from local teachers and guidance counselors.

Each coat costs $34. Last year firefighters delivered just under 200 coats, costing about $7,000.

“This year we’re planning on at least 200, probably a little more,” Zander said, adding the department works with public schools but recently expanded the program to parochial schools as well.

If firefighters need a size that Operation Warm doesn’t carry—such as toddler or infant sizes—firefighters head over to Kohl’s to pick out something nice and warm in person.

The fire department is accepting donations online and at Station No. 1, 1701 Franklin St. Checks can be made out to “Local 484 Charitable Foundation.”