By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia students are gearing up for the winter. Local auto dealers are helping to drive away the cold with a special delivery that warmed the hearts of thousands of children Tuesday.

You could feel the excitement building as Philadelphia students began filtering into the Pennsylvania Convention Center Tuesday morning.

Thousands of elementary school students were wrapped in brand new coats by the time they left — just in time for the fall and winter chill.

“Our foundation is here today to give away about 8,000 brand new winter coats to children from the School District of Philadelphia,” said Mary Lynn Alvarino, with Auto Dealers Caring For Kids Foundation.

One-hundred-and-seventy car dealerships in the Philadelphia region make up the Auto Dealers Caring For Kids Foundation, which provided the new coats for children in need.

“We’re gonna give away 52,700 coats — brand new winter coats — to children living in poverty in the five-county Philadelphia area,” Alvarino said.

“I feel happy and I feel good that they gave me coats,” one boy said.

“Our motto is ‘more coats, more smiles’ because every time we give a child a coat who has likely not had a new thing in their whole lives, it’s such a heartwarming feeling,” Alvarino said.

Volunteers are warming hearts, and children, one coat at a time.

This is the 12th year the Auto Dealers Caring For Kids Foundation has distributed coats throughout the region.

The public is also encouraged to donate. Just $20 will cover the cost of a brand new coat for a child in need.