By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Nearly 6,000 needy Philadelphia school children are getting free winter coats this year, thanks to a group of local automobile dealers.

Today, about 3,500 children from the School District of Philadelphia received free winter coats during a huge distribution event at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

“Sometimes families have to share a coat,” notes Kevin Mazzucola, executive director of the auto dealers’ Caring For Kids Foundation.  “So you see some absenteeism.  I mean, the bottom line is, a kid should not be cold.  And we’re going to make every effort to make as many kids as warm as we can in the Greater Philadelphia area.”

Mazzucola says the coats are purchased by the car dealers through the national organization, “Operation Warm.”  He says students from more than a dozen elementary schools got a short break from school today so they could be bussed in for the coat drive.

Students ranged from kindergarteners to 4th graders.  And after a brief fitting session, there were many happy customers.

“I got my pink coat and I love pink so much!” said one.

Why was it important for her to have a winter coat?

“Because you don’t want to be cold or you’re gonna get sick.”


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