By DON McINTOSH
Students at Marshall Elementary in Vancouver got a visit from fire fighters—and Santa Claus—Dec. 6 as part of a union effort to provide coats for kids. Since 2012, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has partnered with a group called Operation Warm to provide brand new, American-made coats to children in need across the United States. IAFF locals around the country take part in fundraising, and deliver the coats. So far they’ve distributed over 200,000 coats in over 300 cities. Program backers say the coats don’t just keep kids warm; they also improve self-confidence, peer acceptance, school attendance, and outdoor play. In Vancouver, IAFF Local 452 distributes the coats at multiple schools. The coats are given to students on the free and reduced lunch program who are referred by the school’s family resource coordinator.