MILWAUKEE -- A group of Milwaukee firefighters are helping children stay warm this winter. Students at Penfield Montessori Academy welcomed the group Tuesday, November 14th.
“Well anytime you stick a firefighter, and then the mascot, in front of kids like that, I mean, it’s amazing," said Jason Parry, VP of development and communications for Penfield Children's Center.
Members of the Milwaukee Fire Department – including the mascot, Sparky – were on hand to give out coats as part of the Warm Up Winter program.
“We’ve been doing this for six consecutive years now,. We have given out over 30,000 coats to inner-city kids so far. This year we actually raised $119,000," Lieutenant Harold Johnson said.
That money comes from the people of Milwaukee to support the city’s youngest citizens.
“In June we go out and we collect money – three consecutive days -- the entire fire department, to actually purchase brand new coats for our city kids," said Johnson.
About 90 percent of the families that have kids attending Penfield Montessori are at or below the poverty line, and with temperatures dropping, this donation comes at a crucial time of year.
“For a number of our kids, this is going to be their winter coat for the season. It hasn’t been cold that long, so families aren’t yet thinking about it, so this is a big deal for a lot of families that we serve," Parry said.
“Anything positive we can do for our community, that’s our job. Whatever it takes, we like to be a part of it," Johnson said.
Penfield Montessori was one of 11 schools the firefighters will visit this week, bringing brand new coats to each and every one.