For the fourth year, Bellingham and Whatcom County firefighters are raising money for Operation Warm, a nationwide effort to buy American-made winter coats for children in need.
Earlier this year, nearly 200 students at Cordata Elementary School received new coats through Operation Warm, a charity supported by the International Association of Fire Fighters and community groups such as Rotary Clubs. IAFF Local 106, which includes firefighters from the city of Bellingham and from various Whatcom County fire departments, spearheads the fundraising effort in Whatcom County.
This year, IAFF Local 106’s goal is to distribute 300 coats, and – as they have in previous years – firefighters plan to surprise qualifying students with their new coats and bring a fire engine for them to explore. They’ve selected Everson Elementary as the school where they’ll give away the coats around the winter holidays, said Capt. Jeff Heinrichs of the Bellingham Fire Department.
“Ninety-eight percent of the money comes right back here,” Heinrichs said, adding he committed to organizing the coat project because “I turned into a giant sap when I had kids.”
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To donate directly to local firefighters’ efforts through Operation Warm, go online to operationwarm.org/local106.