By Chris Hoffman

MCKEESPORT, Pa. (KDKA) – Kids in McKeesport were given some help in staying warm this winter. The McKeesport Fire Department gave out hundreds of coats to kids at Twin Rivers Elementary School.

Principal Paul Sweda said it’s a great benefit to the community because for some kids, this makes sure they get to school during the winter.

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“The fire department here in McKeesport has always been a wonderful asset in this community,” said Sweda.

The fire department was spreading warmth with the giveaway.

“They’re very ecstatic and very excited to get new stuff that they may not be privileged enough to get out there otherwise,” McKeesport Firefighters Union President Thomas Hartin said.

About 250 students were given coats, socks and shoes for winter. It was all possible through the department’s fundraising and a grant through Operation Warm.

“Even when we get kids that are coming in from outside in the community back into our schools, they will be offered the same thing through our fire department,” Sweda said.

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Firefighters have partnered with the school to give out coats for more than a decade. It was the first year for distributing shoes.

“So it’s been a while that we’ve been giving out coats to kids. We just do our part to help the community and keep the young kids warm over the winter,” Hartin said.

With the challenge of the pandemic last year, it made giveaways like this harder.

“The kids were not coming here, and the parents were in some need. Today, we can make up for years past,” Sweda said.

It’s a warm gift to drive away the cold and gray on days like this.

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The department will distribute hundreds of more coats a little later this week over at Francis McClure Elementary in White Oak.