MILWAUKEE -- A pretty nice day at Maier Festival Park for day two of Summerfest! It's officially summer, and we're experiencing warm temperatures, but there's a group of community leaders who are already planning for winter.
Hours before the gates opened at Maier Festival Park, people were in line, anxious to get inside. Among the crowd Thursday, June 25th were members of the Milwaukee Fire Department.
"This is a great opportunity to interact with them in a non-emergency situation," Milwaukee Fire Department Captain Brian Gardner said.
Instead of fighting fires, on Thursday, they were working to battle a different issue -- poverty and its effect on children.
"We`re doing coats for kids. All donations go straight to the children," Gardner said.
"That is a winning cause," Jeannie Towne said.
The Milwaukee Fire Department's "Warm Up Winter" campaign is in its fourth year. All money raised will go towards the purchase of brand new winter coats for kids.
"Not a hand-me-down. Not gently used. Every coat is brand new," Gardner said.
The coats will be donated to the children at Milwaukee Public Schools to keep them warm during the winter months.
"We`re also saying to them, 'we believe in you. We support you. We love you. We embrace you,'" Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.
Any and all donations make a difference -- $10, $5 -- even the change in your pocket or purse.
"I think people have been generous. We got a couple fives in here. Whatever money they can donate is more than enough," Gardner said.
Last year, firefighters raised $90,000. This year, there's a bigger goal: $100,000.
"It all stays right here in Milwaukee," Gardner said.
There are two more collections at Summerfest -- one Friday, June 26th and one Saturday, June 27th. You can make a donation at Summerfest's north gate from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
The coats will be delivered to kids in need in November.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Milwaukee Fire Department's Warm Up Winter campaign.