A huge thank you to everyone who helped with the 6th Annual Warm Kids, Warm Hearts program, ensuring that winter warmth items were in our student’s hands before Thanksgiving break!
It takes many combined resources to be able to freely provide Southeast Polk kids with the winter warmth items needed each year. This year’s Warm Kids, Warm Hearts Donation drive (coordinated by Altoona Elementary PTA) was held Monday, September 28th – Monday, October 12th. New and gently used items were collected at every SEP elementary building, Altoona Police Department, Altoona Campus, Adventure Life Church and Preschool, and Lutheran Church of the Cross. Items were also collected through our continued partnership with 234 Inc’s, Winter Warmth Drive to provide additional new and gently used gear collected as part of their annual donation drive. Executive Cleaners generously contributed cleaning services for used items again this year.
Pedretti Charitable Foundation provided financial support for the second year. This financial support has made a significant impact by providing the ability to provide not only more winter warmth items but for a much larger portion of the items to be brand new. The Shoes that Fit grant provided by Rack Room Shoes has also significantly impacted the number of boots provided to students. The East Polk Rotary Club provided 31 brand new coats and many pairs of new boots as well. Finally, Altoona Elementary PTA also budgets some financial support for this drive each year.
Our SEP school counselors play a huge role in identifying student needs. Each year, the goal of Warm Kids, Warm Hearts is to meet 100% of identified coat needs for SEP students and also provide as many hats/gloves, snow pants, and boots as possible. This year, 312 students were listed on the winter warmth needs spreadsheet as having some type of winter warmth need.
Kristy Litwiler (SEP parent, Altoona PTA member and Warm Hearts Warm Kids Coordinator) shared,
“ I am thrilled to report that we once again were able to meet 100% of identified coat needs for SEP students! We also provided 167 pairs of snow pants and 206 pairs of boots, as well as many hats, gloves, scarves and headbands. Overall, Warm Kids, Warm Hearts provided over 1,000 winter warmth items in total to over 300 SEP students for the cold winter months ahead.”
Thanks to Kristy and the Altoona Elementary PTA who continue to coordinate this effort each year, and to everyone that contributed to Warm Kids, Warm Hearts! You truly make a difference in our community, especially for these SEP families!