East Pierce Fire and Rescue is once again reaching out to help kids in need.
Last week was the start of the fourth annual Coats for Kids drive, with East Pierce firefighters and volunteers from the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Sumner going into local schools to give warm winter coats to students whose families are not be able to afford them.
The goal, as always, is to give every student in need a coat for the winter, a financial goal of $35,000, said firefighter Hunter Chumbley.
Chumbley has been leading the drive since it began in 2013.
As of Friday, Nov. 11, the Local 3520 firefighter union has raised $15,000 this year, almost half of their yearly goal, plus some money left over from last year.
Last week, 120 coats were given to kids at Daffodil Elementary School and 90 to students at Maple Lawn.
While the Local has the money to buy coats for Liberty Ridge and Mountain Meadows, these schools are sizing students before coats are bought.
And if enough money is raised, next up will be Foothills, Bonney Lake and Hedden Elementary in Edgewood, Chumbley said. “We need about $15,000 more to cover all the schools we did last year.”
Last year, enough donations came in to buy and fit 720 coats to fit all Sumner School District elementary school students, plus Edgewood and Victor Falls.
The department’s success is recognized by Operation Warm, the nonprofit that manufactures the coats given to kids.
“In 2014 and 2015, we ranked number 10 among all other fire departments in the United States for putting the most coats on kids,” said Chumbley.
Financial donations for this year’s drive will be accepted through December, and can be made online at www.operationwarm.org/eastpierce or dropped off during regular business hours at the headquarters fire station at 18421 Veterans Memorial Drive East, in Bonney Lake.
Donations made after December will be put toward next year’s drive.
Used coats are not accepted as donations for the drive.