Rotarians help keep people warm

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WILMINGTON — The Rotary Club of the Deerfield Valley has initiated a new winter coat program called Operation Warm. This program is headquartered in Chicago and has supplied new winter coats to more than 3 million children and adults in need throughout the country.

Operation Warm partners with First Responder organizations and Rotary Clubs around the country. When local club president Angel Balch met with Rich Lalley, the program coordinator in Chicago, he mentioned that no Rotary club from Vermont had ever been involved before.

The idea was brought before the club and enthusiastically embraced. It was determined that coats would be offered to adults and children by using several methods to identify need, for those in seven surrounding towns.

Once the order was placed, the 258 coats were delivered within a week and a half. The Deerfield Valley Rescue Building offered to be the storage and distribution point.

Deerfield Rotarians then began the task of opening, sorting, and organizing the coats into all the various sizes and colors requested. Distributions were done on a daily basis, at different locations for a week.

The local club said this program proved to be "a highly gratifying and appreciated venture for all those involved." Balch is hopeful that this will be an ongoing program in the future, and also hopes to get other Vermont Rotary clubs involved. Anyone is welcome to contact her through Rotary for further information.

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