Volunteers from Alexandria’s police, fire, sheriff’s and recreation departments gather Oct. 29 during the annual Firefighters and Friends coat distribution day at the Charles Houston Recreation Center. More than 300 adult and children’s coats were given to families from across the city.
Photo by Jeanne Theismann.
Alexandria “We believe a new winter coat gives children the freedom and confidence to play more, learn more and do more.” — City Councilman Will Bailey
Families from across the city came to Charles Houston Recreation Center Oct. 29 to pick out new coats and books as part of the Firefighters and Friends annual coat drive.
More than 300 new coats for both children and adults were distributed as well as 300 new books donated by InspireLit.
“We understand that giving a child a new coat builds self-esteem,” said City Councilman Will Bailey, who has spearheaded the event for several years. “It’s brand new, all their own and creates a sense of pride in ownership that we hope fosters self-confidence in children.”
Mayor Allison Silberberg and Sheriff Dana Lawhorne joined volunteers from the Alexandria fire and police departments, the Alexandria sheriff’s office, and the city’s Department of Recreation to help fit children with new coats and pick out new books.
Sponsors for the event included Operation Warm, Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue, ACT for Alexandria, Black Fire Service Professionals of Alexandria, Local 2141, Police Local 5, the Alexandra Recreation Department and Volunteer Alexandria.
“I think the number one way to break the cycle of poverty is through education,” added Bailey, a captain with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. “With a brand new coat children can go to school more often on cold winter days, where they receive nourishment for their minds and bodies. In the end, we believe a new winter coat gives children the freedom and confidence to play more, learn more and do more. When we are not running 911 emergencies we are trying to find ways to help the community and today it was providing new coats and books to children in need.”