Englewood students at Bishop and Cherrelyn Elementary Schools receive free coats during the Operation Warm event on Nov. 17. Credit: Photo by Elisabeth Slay

Englewood Public Schools, FedEx and Operation Warm provided hundreds of new coats to students at Bishop Elementary School and Cherrelyn Elementary School on Nov. 17. 

Superintendent Joanna Polzin said the event went well and it was nice to see all the children receive new coats. 

“I think it went beautifully. The kids were happy. They were smiling and they were sincerely appreciative of being able to receive new coats,” Polzin said. 

Students received the free coats at Bishop Elementary and then coats were dropped off at Cherrelyn and distributed by district administrators. 

Polzin said the mission of Operation Warm is to focus on “the whole child.” 

“Our tagline, ‘more than a coat’ means that the coats and shoes we provide don’t just provide physical warmth, but also emotional warmth, the confidence to socialize and succeed, and hope of a brighter future,” Polzin said. “Operation Warm is proud to say that over the last 23 years, these gifts have become a bridge between our partners and families in need to access critical resources.”

 A volunteer from FedEx helps an Englewood student try on her jacket at Operation Warm on Nov. 17. Photo by Elisabeth Slay

Polzin said FedEx sponsored and provided a donation to Operation Warm. Additionally, several volunteers from FedEx participated in the event and helped distribute the coats. 

Lia Batchkoff, program manager at Operation Warm, said the program is based in Pennsylvania and the coats were manufactured at their warehouse.  

She said the Nov. 17 event went well as FedEx helped the event run smoothly.

“The volunteers came with energy ready to go and the kids have been receiving them really well,” Batchkoff said. “They seem very happy with their coats.” 

Patrick Little, a FedEx volunteer, said Operation Warm is his favorite initiative to be a part of. 

“I just think it’s great to see kids that may have never ever had a new coat in their lifetime have the opportunity to get a new coat, pick out a new coat and be proud of their new coat,” Little said. 

Operation Warm began in 1998 and was founded by Dick Sanford, Polzin said.

Health Assistant Jennifer Johnson and Clarice Fourtunato, the district’s family, school and community liaison, coordinated the program by submitting an application to Operation Warm. 

Johnson said her favorite part of the event was watching students receive new coats for the first time.

“I’ve enjoyed most that the children have told me that they’ve never had a new coat of their own, so I am just loving every moment of this,” Johnson said. 

Polzin and Johnson said they are grateful to FedEx and Operation Warm for making this event happen and supporting the students of Englewood.

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