www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-police-coat-drive-20131215,0,541578.story

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City first responders, leaders team up in coat drive

Some 800 Baltimore children will receive new coats this winter as fire, police and elected officials join with Operation Warm

By Sean Welsh, The Baltimore Sun

6:13 PM EST, December 15, 2013

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More than 800 students in Baltimore will receive a new coat this holiday season thanks to a partnership between Baltimore firefighters, police and elected officials.

The mayor, city council and first responders teamed with Operation Warm, a non-profit providing for children in need. Its the second year Baltimore firefighters have provided coats for the city's children, according to a news release.

Firefighters and police will visit head start programs this week to surprise children with coats – which will be individually fitted for each child.

"Baltimore carries one of the highest poverty rates in the country with nearly 35 percent of our children falling into this category," Rick Hoffman, President of Baltimore Firefighters Local 734, said in a prepared statement. "On the job, firefighters witness the sad truth behind those numbers and we are committed to serving these kids beyond the 911 call."

The coats are made specifically for Operation Warm's nationwide program.

"This is so much more than a coat," Robert Cherry, President of Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police said in a prepared statement. "Beyond warmth and dignity for children, American coat production targets a root cause of poverty for so many families."

sjwelsh@baltsun.com

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