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Columbia Gas Helps Children Keep Warm This Winter

Oct 05, 2016

Westborough, MA - This winter, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts is finding new ways to help stay warm – by donating brand new, USA-made coats to local children in need.

This initiative is part of a new partnership the company has forged with Firefighters for Operation Warm.  For every free home energy assessment requested by a customer during the month of October, the company will donate one new coat in cooperation with the Firefighters for Operation Warm, a non-profit organization that provides new, USA-made coats to children in need.  Local firefighters will match the coat donations, doubling the number of children who will receive a new winter coat.

Home energy assessments are a free service provided by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts.  The assessments examine how a home uses energy and recommends improvements to help customers reduce energy use and save money.  The assessments are performed by trained professionals who provide customers with a detailed report of savings opportunities, offer customers rebates and incentives, and point the way to interest-free financing to help get the work done. 

“Partnering with Operation Warm is a wonderful way to support our customers and our communities,” said Steve Bryant, President of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts.  “We have a long history of collaborating with our local fire departments.  Joining together to help needy children stay warm is a wonderful continuation of that partnership – and in a new way – support the communities we serve.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with Operation Warm and Columbia Gas to provide new USA-made coats to area children,” said Jay Colbert, president, Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts. “Our 219 locals are committed to this mission because we’ve seen how something as simple as a warm coat can help a child stay warm, healthy, safe and excel in all they do.”

Operation Warm was founded in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania in 1998 by local businessman Dick Sanford.  While driving one cold December morning, he saw a group of coatless children huddled at a bus stop.  The sight prompted him to drive to a local department store and purchase every coat in stock. With the help of his local Rotary Club, those 58 coats were given directly to kids in need, and Operation Warm was born.  Since then, the organization has distributed over 2 million coats to children in need.

In 2012, Operation Warm partnered with the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) to extend support to more local communities.  Currently, more than 200 fire locals across the country have partnered with Operation Warm, donating coats to more than 140,000 children nationwide. 

Columbia Gas and the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts will collaborate on donations in Brockton, Lawrence and Springfield. In these communities they will partner with local community action program organizations that will identify the children to receive the donated coats in November, before the winter cold sets in.

Columbia Gas customers can request a no-cost home energy assessment by calling 1-800-232-0120