FedEx Cares, Operation Warm give coats to kids
More than 300 students will be able to bundle up
Walks to school should be easier for Hawkins Mill Elementary School students this winter.
Operation Warm and FedEx Cares teamed up once again on Thursday to deliver new winter coats to Memphis children in need. The two organizations — Operation Warm, a Pennsylvaniabased nonprofit, and FedEx Cares, the global giving arm of the Memphisbased logistics giant — gave 325 students at the school coats to keep them warm this winter.
“We have a lot of walkers [to school], and so making sure that they’re bundled up as they’re walking down the street will be something that the parents will ultimately appreciate, as well,” Hawkins Mill Principal Claude Wilson II said, as students began filing into the school gym to receive their new coats Thursday afternoon.
Operation Warm provides coats to children in need, with the aim of boosting school attendance and student self esteem in the process. The nonprofit has been active for 20 years and wants to put an exclamation point on that milestone by handing out its 3 millionth coat this winter.
“Seeing [students] light up and smile knowing something is here for them and giving them the gift of warmth is such a precious gift for them,” said Rachel Kesselman, a FedEx communications adviser. “A lot of times, it’s a barrier for kids to get out when it’s cold or when it’s rainy, and knowing that every kid is getting a brand new coat is just a heartwarming feeling.”
That wasn't the only highlight for Hawkins Mill Elementary students, either. Several Memphis Grizzlies players surprised students during the event around 2:30 p.m. after a team practice.
Operation Warm and FedEx Cares are familiar allies. The two have partnered for the past decade, Kesselman said, with FedEx first offering in-kind shipping services and now using its logistical muscle to help distribute the coats.
FedEx employees are also frequent volunteers at several Operation Warm coat-giving events in the country, with 60 volunteers Thursday helping students pick out coats. Their collaboration last year aimed to provide nearly 5,000 coats in 10 cities.
In 2017, FedEx funded and delivered coats for children around the country in collaboration with Operation Warm. They also teamed up last winter to provide A.B. Hill Elementary School students in Memphis with coats.
Memphis was the nonprofit’s fifth stop on the tour, and it is visiting San Francisco on Friday. As of Thursday morning, Operation Warm’s website said it has delivered 2,793,512 coats throughout America so far.
Max Garland covers FedEx, logistics and health care for The Commercial Appeal. Reach him at max.garland@commercial
appeal.com or 901-529-2651 and on Twitter @MaxGarlandTypes.
Operation Warm provides coats to children in need, with the aim of boosting school attendance and student self esteem in the process.
Memphis Grizzlies guard Wayne Selden signs autographs as his team joins FedEx and Operation Warm on Thursday.
Fa’Lencia Neal, 7, sports her new winter wear as FedEx, the Memphis Grizzlies and Operation Warm surprised children with new coats at Hawkins Mill Elementary School on Thursday. PHOTOS BY JOE RONDONE/THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL