We all remember bundling up during Richmond's deep freeze, but there were children right here in our area who didn't have the coats, gloves or hats needed to stay warm!
Esra Kazanoglu, a first grade teacher at Laburnum Elementary, noticed the problem and decided to take action.
Her students remember how it felt.
"It's too cold and I might get frozen," says six year old Emani Freeman-Spann.
The toasty classrooms were a place for the children to warm up. But Kazanoglu noticed some students were coming in without thick coats, gloves or hats.
"It was more sweatshirts or long sleeve t-shirts," she said. "I could see them shivering and it was taking them a little bit longer to get their body temperature back to normal."
Some of the children also noticed their classmates didn't have the layers. Six year old Chase James says one boy was standing at his bus stop.
"His mama didn't have nothing and I feel sad for him," he said. "I went in the house and gave him a big jacket, he said thank you."
Kazanoglu decided something had to be done.
"Just having one to me was one too many," she said.
She put a post on Facebook asking people to collect coats for the children at Laburnum. In less than a day, donations started coming in. The Henrico Police Athletic League also joined this impromptu coat drive and found the need extended beyond this school, Kazanoglu and Officer Michelle Sheehan says many eastern Henrico principals started calling in.
"We're looking for any size jackets, winter wear hats, gloves," says Officer Sheehan. "Socks is also something, there are kids coming to school without socks as well."
Local businesses have now stepped in to help clean and store donations. But we're told there is still a need for more winter wear, because this coat drive is now going county wide.
The Henrico Police Athletic League is collecting donations at its office at 8655 Staples Mill Road. You can also call them at 804-262-4725. Donations will be accepted until January 31.
Arena Racing has also offered a free children's ticket for the race at the Richmond Coliseum this weekend for every coat that's donated. The drop off location is at the Coliseum this Friday, January 15 and Saturday, January 16. Friday starts at 6:30pm and Saturday is at 6 p.m
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