Local firefighters host coat drive for Worcester County kids

It's a staggering statistic, a new report released by the United Way about a third of Worcester County families can't afford to provide the basics for their kids. 

For those of you who aren't country like me that means you're taking money out of one pot to pay for something in another pot. 

But that's where members of the International Association of Fire Fighters here on Delmarva are working to fill in the gap.

"We have to make sure our kids basic needs are taken care of before we ask them to learn and think critically." 

It's a first for the Ocean Pines firefighter union, but the need is so great it won't be the last. 

The union is working with Operation Warm and Worcester County schools to get coats on the backs of elementary kids. 

The fundraiser couldn't come at a better time  because the United Way has crunched the numbers and found that over 30 percent of people in the county are working poor, which means their income is barely enough to get by. 

Teacher, Jess McInerney, says many of her students come from families who are struggling. 

"We have about 320 students in the high school and we're about 70 percent free and reduced lunch. And that might be an under-representation based on the students who fail to fill out their paperwork."

Union organizers say their original goal was $3400.

That's enough to keep 100 kids warm through winter's unforgiving temperatures.

Fundraising has been such a success, many more kids will have nice warms coats when the holiday season rolls around. 

"We have been very fortunate in our fundraising and we have already raised over $2500 dollars."

Now the union is looking to raise even more money with their fundraiser at the Burely Oak Brewery..

Organizers say they have all sort of great raffle prizes and most of the money made here tonight will be donated toward the cause. 

The drive is just another example of the big hearts people here on Delmarva have. 

Anyone looking to help with the effort,  can check out operationwarm.org

Halloween is the deadline for people to donate and for kids to sign up for a free jacket. 

Categories: Local News