Local firefighters, Family Services give winter coats to preschoolers

Local firefighters, Family Services give winter coats to preschoolers
December 24
00:00 2015
Photo by Tevin Stinson
Members of the WSPFFA help a young preschooler select her favorite color coat during the Coats For Kids Project on Saturday, Dec. 19.

By Tevin Stinson

For The Chronicle 

Members of the Winston-Salem Professional Fire Fighters Association (WSPFFA) got into the season of giving last Saturday when they arrived at the Sarah Y. Austin Head Start Center with brand new coats for 41 children.

In support of the national association’s Coats For Kids Project, Firefighters from Station 12 located on New Walkertown Road coordinated fundraisers throughout the year to purchase the new coats.

The WSPFFA has participated in the project since 2011, bringing coats to a different community each year. According to WSPFFA president Dave Pollard, every year they focus on a different neighborhood in the eastern portion of the city.

“We know this area is probably the most poverty stricken area in the city. That’s why we focus our efforts here,” Pollard said.

In years past, the event has served children in the LaDeara Crest neighborhood, The Salvation Army Boys and Girls club, and a number of inner city schools. Pollard said he would like to continue the relationship with Head Start and their local provider Family Services because they are able to identify the children who need the coats the most.

“I think we will continue our partnership with Head Start and Family Services because they are with these kids every day and are able to identify the most neediest children in the area.”

In years past the WSPFFA worked with council members to identify the areas with the biggest need for the project.

Family Services president and CEO Bob Feikema said he is thrilled to be able to provide so many new coats for preschoolers in need. Feikema mentioned it is extremely important for children to have a warm coat during those cold winter mornings.

“We know from the past that we can have some pretty bitter mornings, especially when you have kids coming to school and waiting on the schools bus,” he said. “It’s important that they stay warm and healthy.”

Along with the coats, the firefighters also prepared a pancake breakfast for the children and families in attendance. While enjoying their meal, a number of parents said they were grateful for everything the WSPFFA and Family Services did to make the event possible.

“This is truly a blessing,” said Ashley Manning. “These are very nice coats and they will last for a couple of winters as well. I am grateful to everyone who made this event possible.”

Before handing out the brand new American made coats, Pollard said although the WSPFFA sponsors a number of community events throughout the year, Coats For Kids is the event the firefighters enjoy the most.

“Every year we try to do more and more and more. This isn’t our only event, but this is the one we enjoy the most,” he said. “Seeing the kids’ faces is just priceless, especially during the holidays. It’s a huge deal for us.”


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