Coats for the kids

Messenger photos by Dedra Cordle
Last week, the students at Finland Elementary and Highland Park Elementary went home with new winter gear as their schools were selected to participate in Coat Day Columbus, a local and national initiative that supplies thousands of children with stylish and warm coats at no cost to their families. The jackets were manufactured by the national nonprofit organization Operation Warm while the coats were purchased and donated to the area schools by the local nonprofit organization Bonzy Charities and their community partner, Germain of Columbus. Employees of the company served as the personal shoppers and the fitting guides for the more than 800 South-Western City School students who received new coats just in time for the turn of the weather. Evan Debo, the executive director of communications for SWCS, said the district was fortunate to have such “philanthropic and generous” donors who are committed to making an impact on the lives of their students. Pictured here demonstrating how finding the perfect coat had a positive impact on their day is fourth grader Juan Rangel Ramirez and his personal shopper Kevin Lunsford, an account executive at Germain Insurance Company. Rangel Ramirez said he had a great time trying on all the different coats and that he looked forward to showing off his “cool blue jacket” this winter.
Sonya Muska, a fourth grade student at Highland Park, looks through the pile of coats, trying to find the perfect one. Although she says she liked the variety of colors and patterns that were presented to her, she ultimately chose a sharp black coat because it came in a slightly bigger size. “I like big coats,” she said. “You can tuck yourself into them better when you get cold.”
Daniel Martinez (left) goes through a coat fit check with Brandon Bigelow, a service director at Germain Volkswagen.
Friends Amara Thorpe (left) and Amari Smith (right) pose with their new gear. Thorpe said she picked the hot pink coat because she loves hot pink and Smith said she chose a lilac color because she loves purple.
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