It’s always a pleasure to write about Operation Warm and its mission to provide new winter coats for children at risk. Along with their community partners, ONE MILLION coats have been distributed throughout the United States. As a Rotarian, I’ve seen first-hand the difference a new warm winter coat makes in the life of a child.
Recently the Chester County Family Academy wrote and sang this Thank You Song.. The video was shown publicly at the “One Millionth Child” celebration at the end of February. I was very moved by the song and the smiling faces of the children who have been coat recipients. When you view the video take special note of the happy eyes.
As the line in the song goes – “Operation Warm you’ve given them more than a coat today.”
It’s International Women’s Day and I’m celebrating and spreading the news that thousands of women on two continents play a major role in eradicating polio. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative tells the story of these female vaccinators and front line health care workers in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
And they are not working in hospitals or clinics, but in the field, traveling door-to-door, down back alleys to talk to mothers and grandmothers about the benefits of polio vaccine and then giving the vaccine to the children. You can find them on National Immunization Days delivering oral vaccine, giving hand washing, nutritional and other health care information. You can find them holding meetings with parents, particularly mothers, on the benefits of polio eradication.
The numbers are staggering. In India alone, 80-85% of the 2.3 million vaccinators at every round of NIDs are female workers. Of the 155,000 people who supervise these women, 70% are female. Just think of how wonderful it is that these TWO MILLION women are working so hard to help their communities. They are trained, they are skilled and they are respected. In places where women are sometimes undervalued this is something to celebrate. As many of you know, India has been polio free for over a year and the WHO has just removed it from the list of endemic countries. Think there’s a connection?
This is an exceptional program and I’d like you to read the story about the Women Vaccinators and tell your friends. Let’s find a way to start a thank you letter to these women – anyone have an idea how to do that?
It doesn’t seem possible but I’ve written this blog for just about a year and it delights me to tell you that one of the first organizations I wrote about celebrates an amazing milestone. Operation Warm, originally founded to provide new warm winter coats to local children in Pennsylvania and then spread to serving children in thirty-three states, presented its one millionth coat on February 27th!! That’s one million children with ‘kid-friendly’ brand new warm winter coats who can now go to school every day. One million children who know someone cares about them.
Operation Warm partners with many like-minded organizations to break the cycle of poverty and strengthen local communities. I’ve been honored to know and work with Operation Warm and its dedicated staff for a few years and it is heartwarming to see the difference they make. They must each work 24 hours a day.
So where will Operation Warm go from here? Watch for details coming soon but you can be sure it will continue its effort to serve even more children and families.