Hundreds of school students in Delaware are getting brand new winter coats courtesy of a collaborative volunteer effort spearheaded by Harvey Hanna and Associates in Newport, the Delaware Kids Fund and Operation Warm.
About fifty volunteers were on hand at Warner Elementary School in Wilmington where the first of the coat giveaways took place on Thursday morning, November 29, 2018.
Harvey Hanna vice-president Ryan Kennedy, who is also Executive Director of the Delaware Kids Fund, says the company found a unique way to raise money for the effort.
"We told our donors 'if you donate to this mission, this cause, in order to purchase these coats through Operation Warm, we'll camp out, we'll sleep out overnight.'"
Kennedy says the idea looked good on paper.
"It's not a traditional camp site. It's a field we own in the heart of Newport that is right under 141. But we did it and we were able to raise $40,000 and purchase 1,800 coats for four separate schools."
Kennedy got emotional when asked how the effort has affected him.
"It's all perspective. We sacrificed for two nights, and I was able to go home...
"We were able to go home to our families. Fire going, food going, kids running around, heat, clothing. We all lose perspective in our daily lives.
"Everyone takes everything for granted generally. To go home to that but knowing there's children in Delaware, a large percentage of them you heard it here - at this school there's over 85% living at or below the poverty line.
"They don't get the luxury of clean, brand new clothes. They don't get a lot of the luxuries we get to experience and that's kind of full circle, it's perspective."
This is the second year of the program which has now raised over $75,000 providing 3,400 coats to students at six schools.