Warm coats for kids come from heart-warming charity

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — More than 200 New Haven students for early Christmas presents when Santa himself came to the Fair Haven School to hand out winter coats.

The reindeer are not ready yet, so Santa took a firetruck to the school on Grand Avenue. He came to deliver a particular kind of present. See, Santa knows a thing or two about cold weather, and when the temperature drops, a lot of the kids in this school don’t have proper coats.

“My students especially walk in and they’re not wearing a coat,” said Kindergarten teacher Anna McCarthy. “They’re not even wearing a sweatshirt and I say, ‘Where’s your coat? What are you doing? It’s cold outside,’ and they say, ‘I don’t have one, Ms. McCarthy,’ and that really breaks my heart.”

At the same time, Leshea Schaivone was looking for a place that needed coats.. Her mother Donna died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism on September 4th at the age of 68. To keep her spirits up after her mom’s sudden death, she started a Facebook page called Coats for Kids.

“I wanted my angel to give warm hugs to kids,” Schaivone said. Unlike Santa, Leshea’s Mom was not a fan of cold weather. “Oh, she needed to be warm. I think if could have all moved to Florida, she would have loved it.”

She also would have loved the outpouring of support for the coat drive. In all, Leshea collected 260 coats.

“I’ve had individuals that donated $500 checks, I’ve had people walk to my house with coats because they didn’t have transportation,” Schaivone said.

So the mom who loved summer and always wanted to stay warm, ended up inspiring this effort to help a guy from the North Pole hand out winter coats.

“I know that she’s looking down and I’m proud to be able to have done this, and this is all about the Christmas spirit and trying to keep myself and my family in the Christmas spirit in honor of my mother,” said Schaivone.

Schaivone said this is not a one-time deal. She will do something like this again next year, possibly expanding into pajamas.


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