The Buffalo Public School District is working to provide winter coats for families in need. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley visited one of the district's four Parent Centers to learn more about the giveaway.
Winter coats, in a variety of sizes from 3-T to large, line a long table inside the Bennett Parent Center located at the Bennett School of Innovative Technology on Main Street.
“For the winter we are providing free clothing, free coats, free mittens, hats and gloves,” said Dr. Ramona Reynolds, Office of Parent and Family Engagement.
More than 200 brand new coats have been donated through the national program known as Operation Warm.
“In our school district over 90-percent of our families have extraordinary needs. However, we do find at our west zone, our Lafayette Parent Center, that is a site, I would say, where we have, I would say an extreme need,” Reynolds remarked.
All Buffalo Public Schools are closed Wednesday and Thursday due to a winter storm and extremely dangerous wind chills. Meanwhile, Reynolds reminds and encourages students to make they always bundle up during the winter months.
"Please cover your heads, make sure you are wearing warm clothing – coats, mittens – I’m a former principal and I can’t tell you how many times, during the winter months, my students would go home with hoodies – there are times where students don’t have a coat – there are times where they are ashamed to ask for it,” Reynolds noted.
Coat giveaways will take place Monday, February 4, at the Bennett Parent Center and Thursday, February 7, at the East, South Park and Lafayette Parent Centers. But families can contact the city school district if they cannot attend the giveaway events, and are in need of winter coats and items.
The Buffalo Public School District provided an inventory of winter wear available for students at various schools:
BPS Elementary Schools with Winter Clothing
D’Youville Porter School #3 has the following items (Kristy Giardina):
Boots: 1 pair of boots left
Gloves: 10 gloves
Hats: 8 hats
School #17 (Marianna Cecchini) is depleted - everything was given to students before break.
School #18 has the following (Tracy Cotter):
School #19 Native American has the following items (Kate Wendling):
Frank Sedita School #30 has the following items (Sarah Gunter):
School #31 HRT has the following items (Julie Walsh):
Bennett Park Montessori #32 has the following items (Jenn Stockmeyer):
Snow Pants: 0
Lovejoy Discovery School #43 has the following items (Patricia Lattuca):
International School #45
School 48@MLK has the following items (Janet Correa-Longo):
Community School #53 has the following items (Denisca R. Thompson):
School #54 Dr. George Blackman has depleted their supply. [Parkside Community Association dropped off hats and gloves but the students go out to the playground every day, so they go quickly.
Dr. Charles R. Drew Science Magnet, PS#59 - Annex Site (Mark Shoemaker):
Discovery School #67 no inventory of any cold weather gear.
Houghton Academy #69 has the following items (Kevin Garcia):
Snow Pants: 1
School #72 Lorraine has the following items (Jeff Banks):
Snow Pants: 4
Herman Badillo #76 (Maria Cala) winter clothing inventory:
Gloves: 6 dozen
School #84 (Jennifer A. Kapsiak) has some hats, gloves, scarves and socks for those who come in without.
Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence #89 (Contann Dabney) has approximately 75-100 coats, mostly for adults. They were a donation from Colvin Cleaners - only have a handful of the other items such as gloves, hats and scarfs.
BUILD Community School #92 has the following items (Kara Bennett):
Southside Elementary School #93 has the following items (Patricia Dixon):
School #95 Waterfront (Kate Paolini) maintains "The Clothes Closet" where clothes and winter wear (jackets, snow pants, boots, hats, mittens, etc.) are kept for students who need/ask.
Harvey Austin #97 (Cassandra Gasbarrini) has the following items:
Snow suits/pants: 4
Gloves: 50 pair Scarves: 11
Boots: 3 pairs (2 boys, 1 girls)
IPrep #198 (Ella Dunne) has a clothes closet stocked for students/families.
City Honors has none.