'Operation Warm' gives brand new coats away to kids in Helena

Kid holding up coat
Posted at 7:12 AM, Jan 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-29 12:22:59-05

HELENA — Hats, gloves, and coats are all necessities in Montana winters, especially for kids. But, the cost of cold weather gear adds up quickly for growing bodies. Two Helena groups came together to support local families by giving brand-new coats away for free.

The Director of Youth Development for The Helena Family YMCA, Ashley Callison, said, "We pick up kids from four of the local elementary schools, and I've been helping out [with] picking up, and there's every single day kids running out of the schools without coats on."

On Friday, the YMCA partnered with Placer Subura and 'Operation Warm' to give away 180 coats.

Woman putting coat on child

"We have lots of kids that are in our after-school program we're giving them out to, and also our sports programs and things like that, and then also the other community kids that are around that have hopefully seen our Facebook post and heard from the school districts that we're doing this," Callison said.

'Operation Warm' is a nationwide nonprofit, and according to their website, "this February, Subaru and its retailers...are visiting local homeless shelters and support agencies to provide more than 150,000 children with brand-new necessities like coats, shoes, and socks."

Callison said, "I thought since we are doing it in the wintertime and it's Montana, coats were probably a good choice. So, we went with that. Maybe next time we'll go with shoes."

People looking at coats

This is the first time Subaru has partnered with the YMCA for coat gifting, but the community organization has held similar events in the past.

"The 'Y' has done more of like coat drives, where people drop off coats and then we give them out, but we have never given out this many coats to this many kids," said Callison.

If you want to donate to 'Operation Warm,' visit their website here.

The coats that are left will be donated to local schools.