RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Many Summer Hill preschoolers will be staying warm this winter thanks to the Richmond Professional Firefighters Association, which handed out 200 coats to students.

This was the first time in three years the firefighters association had the coat drive. It started in 2019 but took a brief hiatus because of the pandemic. According to its president Keith Andes, all Summer Hill Preschool students are impacted by poverty and might not be able to afford a new coat.

A volunteer hands a coat to a student at Summer Hill Preschool.

“I was just at a City Council meeting last Monday. They were talking about the poverty rate we have here in Richmond and it’s twice than what the state is and what the federal United States is. We’re just trying to give back to a community,” said Andes. “This is just a way of giving back to some worthy kids.”

The firefighters association teamed up with sponsors Rosie’s Gaming Emporium, Richmond Police Coalition and Stop Loss to hand out the coats to students. People donated money through Operation Warm, a national charity making new coats and shoes for kids in need.

City Council member Reva Trammell, who represents the 8th district where the preschool is located, stopped by the coat drive.

“This really touched my heart this morning, to give away these coats to these children,” said Trammell. “There’s so many children in this area, in this community, that needs a coat.”

The firefighters association plans to have another coat drive next month where they would like to hand out more winter coats to students who might not be able to afford them.