Students from Lake Grove Elementary School show off their firefighter badge stickers. Photo courtesy of Patty Samora
                                Students from Lake Grove Elementary School show off their firefighter badge stickers. Photo courtesy of Patty Samora

Students from Lake Grove Elementary School show off their firefighter badge stickers. Photo courtesy of Patty Samora Students from Lake Grove Elementary School show off their firefighter badge stickers. Photo courtesy of Patty Samora

Operation Warm: new winter coats delivered to Lake Grove students

South King Fire and Rescue delivers more than 130 coats to kindergarteners, first graders.

As colder weather nears, South King Fire and Rescue has made it a mission to keep the community cozy.

South King Fire and Rescue firefighters provided brand new winter coats to all kindergarteners and first graders at Lake Grove Elementary last week, part of Operation Warm.

Operation Warm is a nonprofit organization that partners with local communities to give children in need new winter coats, which also in turn provides warmth, confidence and hope.

“We’re hoping the coats positively impact the students practically by keeping them warm and creates a positive connection to public servants, specifically the fire department and school teachers,” said Jeff Bellinghausen, community affairs officer for South King Fire and Rescue.

Firefighters, along with a special visit from Sparky the Fire Dog, spent the morning helping students pick out their favorite color and ensuring proper fit of each coat.

Many children often show up to school without warm clothing in the winter months and Operation Warm helps create a solution, Bellinghausen said.

“It was a fun day,” he said. “This was our fourth year doing it and the kids are always so appreciative.”

More than 130 coats were given to students, providing a warm coat for every single first grader and kindergartener at the event on Oct. 11.

Since the department’s first year of participation in 2013, SKFR has donated more than 800 coats to children in the community.

South King Firefighters Local 2024 and the Firefighters Foundation combined to purchase the coats. Each year, the fire department partners with the Federal Way Public Schools district to select a different school on a need-basis for Operation Warm.

“We appreciate our partnership with South King Fire and Rescue for their support of our Goal 2 whole child efforts by helping keep our scholars warm so they are ready to learn at school,” said Dr. Tammy Campbell, superintendent for the Federal Way school district.

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