OC firefighters launch Coats For Kids effort

The annual Coats For Kids drive sponsored by Oil City firefighters is underway.

Oil City Firefighters Local 700 is now collecting tax deductible donations from anyone interested in helping area youngsters who need warm winter coats.

The firefighters began participating in this project to provide free winter coats to children in need in 2013. Since starting the program, the firefighters have collected and spent $54,542 to purchase 1,822 coats for children in the community.

The firefighters concentrated on Oil City School District the first year in 2013 and provided coats for all the students who met the income requirements and needed coats.

The firefighters were also able to provide coats to the children who attended Head Start and the Child Development Centers facility.

The same needs were met the second year, and the firefighters were also able to expand to Cranberry School District. Last year, in the third year of the campaign, the firefighters added Valley Grove School District to the campaign’s service area.

Last year’s campaign brought in $17,000, and the donations led to the purchase of about 500 coats, said John Horn, an Oil City firefighter and the chairman of last year’s effort.

Horn is also leading this year’s campaign, and he stressed that the new coats the firefighters provide to the children are 100 percent American made and that every penny donated goes toward the coats. The firefighters don’t keep any of the donations, Horn said.

Donations can be made by check, money order, cash or online payment.

The mailing address is Oil City Firefighters Local 700, 404 Central Ave., Oil City, Pa., 16301. Online donations can be made at donate.operationwarm.org.