Firefighters Give Gifts of Warmth to Elementary Students

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SCRANTON -- Just in time for the cold weather and the upcoming holidays, boxes full of winter jackets were unloaded from fire trucks and into Frances Willard Elementary School Wednesday morning.

The Scranton Fire Department gave more than 370 colorful winter jackets to the students.

"Most kids want toys for Christmas, they want fun things for Christmas.  This is one thing that they need, that they don't even know they need, and to see their faces light up with it with genuine appreciation is indescribable," said  Andy Polansky of the Scranton Fire Department.

This is the fourth year that the Scranton Fire Department has participated in the national campaign of Operation Warm.

The program gives brand new American-made coats to kids in need.

This year, the fire department collected more than $12,000 in donations to outfit these kids with warm winter coats.

School officials say having warm coats helps students to show up ready to learn.

"It's so sad when we see kids who aren't warm enough in the morning or to go out to recess or physical education outside if they don't have the appropriate attire on," said Principal Meg Duffy.

Students trying on their brand new winter jackets were filled with joy. For some, this early Christmas gift is right on time.

"It has more buttons than all the rest of my jackets," said kindergarten Felix Tejeda.

People looking to donate for next Christmas can leave a check at any of the Scranton fire house locations.