Warwick Rotarians to provide 180 coats to Backpack Snack Attack students

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:20

WARWICK — More than 180 Warwick students will have warm winter coats as well as full stomachs, thanks in part to members of the Warwick Valley Rotary Club. Continuing its 35-year tradition of community service, the 60-member local service club has purchased the new coats to be distributed to needy Warwick students. Rotarians are working with Operation Warm, Inc., a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to distributing high-quality, new winter coats to children living in need. Rotary clubs, including several in the Hudson Valley, acquire coats at wholesale prices from Operation Warm’s inventory. Assisting in logistical support for the project are Dr. Ray Bryant, Warwick Rotarian and Superintendent of Schools, and school nurses, who have coordinated with teachers and principals, to identify the needy children by gender, ages, coat sizes and siblings. Dr. Maggi Verhagen and Stan Martin, Rotary community services co-directors, pointed out that the coat project is a natural tie-in with Warwick’s highly successful Backpack Snack Attack program, which provides weekend meals to needy children throughout the Town of Warwick. Local Rotarians provided almost $3,000 in start-up money and support for the Backpack Snack Attack program, which has grown from one school and about 20 students to more than 200 students in every public elementary school in the town, including Warwick, Greenwood Lake and Florida school districts. Jay Rowland and Shirley Puett are co-founders and directors of the Backpack Snack Attack, which is headquartered in the Warwick Reformed Church. “A warm coat is an essential item in winter time” said Wayne Patterson, Warwick Valley Rotary president and a school board member. “A coat provides more than just warmth it allows a child to attend school, where they not only receive an education, they also receive meals. A new coat provides the added benefit of increasing self esteem.” Each coat will have a “pay it forward” postcard stating “This new coat is a gift especially to you from the Warwick Valley Rotary Club. All we ask in return is you do an act of kindness to someone this week. Tell us what you did….” Area citizens are invited to help with this project by making donations. Contributions may be sent to the Warwick Valley Rotary Club at P.O. Box 121, Warwick, NY, 10990.