WILLINGBORO — Over 150 township children will be wearing brand-new winter coats this year courtesy of the third annual Operation Warm coat drive.
The event was put on a through a partnership with the Board of Education, Township Council, Recreation Department and local nonprofit Common Heroes.
The groups raised enough money to buy over 100 coats from Operation Warm, a national nonprofit that provides new coats for children in need. The remaining coats were donated by families at the Twin Hills Elementary School, according to Denise Saunders, the family liaison for the school district.
“It’s so rewarding and something from the heart,” Saunders said.
In the first year, the district worked with the Fire Department and Mount Holly School District to organize the drive. Last year was the first time that just Willingboro organizations ran it, Saunders said, and about 100 coats were distributed. This year, even more were provided.
One reason for that was Sen. Troy Singleton, D-7th of Palmyra, donated to the cause.
Singleton stopped by for the drive Friday morning to hand out coats to parents and students. He helped Laverne Brockington and her daughter, Breyunia, 11, pick out a new coat.
“I wasn’t sure about the red,” Singleton joked as he helped Breyunia try it on.
Tonda Jackson, who selected a coat for her 10-year-old, said she was grateful for the community effort.
“It shows they care,” Jackson said. “That they’re thinking of you.”