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Trenton Mayor, Rotary Provide Coats to Hundreds of Local Children

Hundreds of children will have winter coats this winter because of efforts by Downriver Rotary Clubs and Trenton Mayor Kyle Stack.

The walk to school just got a little warmer for many Trenton children in need of a winter coat.

For the past three years the Trenton Rotary Club and have been responsible for getting winter coats to hundreds of local children.

About 68 children in Trenton will receive coats. Stack and her husband Bill Jasman made an order for a total of over 300 coats this year.

Jasman said "there are families (in Trenton) that are choosing either food or clothing."

In 2008, Stack and Jasman visited a Rotary conference in Philadelphia, PA to learn about Operation Warm--an organization that provides new winter coats to children in need all over the U.S.

Stack and Jasman said they thought the effort could do a great deal of good in the Downriver area, so they decided to bring Operation Warm to Southeastern Michigan.

Until 2008, Operation Warm had never been attemped in Michigan.

The two said they wated to began distributing coats right away and began by first contacting .

Stack rallied together teachers and principals at TPS to find out which students needed coats. Rotaries in other cities like Wyandotte, Gibraltar and Brownstown took a similar approach, while Woodhaven used local churches to identify children in need.

“They told us what they needed, what sizes they needed, and we gathered them all and then made one order for this area,” Jasman said.

Each year the coats are paid for by Rotary International and manufactured by Operation Warm.

Each coat is brand new and dedicated for a specific child. Teachers and school administrators hand out the coats to children while they're in school.

Jasman said teachers and administrators are always careful to be discreet when selecting children and handing out coats--to avoid embarrassment.

"They'll pull the kids out of class to give them the coat," Jasman said. "We're not there to take pictures."

Jasman said local children will begin receiving coats as early as Friday.

Any coats left over will be donated to the Salvation Army.

Stack said she and her husband chose Operation Warm because they wanted to do something for the community that would have a direct impact.

Stack said a Trenton teacher pulled her aside last year and said, "you wouldn't believe the smile on this little girl's face when she got her own coat, because she was always passed down coats."

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