Anchorage firefighters are keeping kids warm this winter.

For the fifth year, the department participated in "Operation Warm."

On Thursday morning, firefighters, police officers and other volunteers handed out 400 new winter jackets to students at Creekside Park Elementary.

“I’m glad I picked purple,” said second-grader Annabella Mangrobang.

“My favorite, with me getting a coat, is when I got to write my name on my coat,” classmate Daquan Stinson added.

Creekside Park principal Tim Andrew said only 30 percent of the school’s students take the bus, so outdoor gear is essential.

“Our kids in the wintertime walking to and from school, it’s cold. We try our best to be able to provide warm gear for them if their families can’t,” Andrew said.

Operation Warm serves Title I schools that have a higher number of economically disadvantaged students.

Andrew said while a coat might not seem like much to some people, it can be a big deal for struggling families.

“The money they might have to spend on a coat can be used on food, housing, transportation, things families have to have to get through each day,” Andrew said.

The kids had a chance to test out their new jackets by going outside to see an AFD fire truck and take pictures with firefighters.

“Their teachers don’t know, so it’s a big surprise,” said Mike Stumbaugh, president of the firefighters union. “They come in and their faces light up and they get a jacket and refuse to take it off.”

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