Milwaukee Fire Department donates free winter coats to local students

MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Firefighters will donate approximately 5,000 winter coats to local kids this month.

For the sixth year, MFD is working with Operation Warm to provide free coats for children at Milwaukee schools. 

This year, firefighters will hand out the coats at 11 area schools. 

On Tuesday, they stopped in for a presentation and coat distribution at Penfield Montessori Academy. 

The school's executive director said the coat donations were very much appreciated. 

"About 80 percent of our children live in poverty. They live at or below the poverty level, and a lot of them just don't have warm winter clothing," said Kathy Ronco, of the Penfield Montessori Academy. "It's just another, added expense many people can't afford." 

She said MFD worked with the school to make sure each student received a coat in the right size and for the correct gender. 

A total of 110 kids at Penfield received the free coats on Tuesday. 

"It feels great," said MFD Lt. Harold Johnson, Sr. "We're doing something positive for the community. The kids love it, and the parents love it as well." 

"Some look at it like going above and beyond, but it's really just our job," Johnson, Sr. also said. "We help people in any way we can." 

The fire department raises the money to purchase the coats through its annual Fill the Boot fundraising campaign every June. 

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