Operation Warm Aids Those in Need, Introduces Families to Library

first_imgThis little girl’s smile says it all. By Tim KellyIf ever there was a time when we could all use a little warmth it’s right now.The Ocean City Free Public Library did just that on Monday night with its hosting of the Operation Warm program to aid those in need in our community – and to showcase Library resources.The program partners with libraries nationwide to provide new coats for people in need and to give out free books to participating children.“This is really an exciting program, and we are happy to be a part of it,” said Leslie Clarke, assistant library director. “It’s an opportunity for us to help those less fortunate in our community and to introduce them to the many free resources available here at the Library.”Operation Warm utilizes funds from grants to purchase new coats for the needy, and to raise awareness of the many great free programs available here in Ocean City.Clarke said local educators Heather Connolly and Carrie Merritt identified 138 Ocean City students who could benefit from the program.Those in attendance received true VIP treatment during an fun and educational evening.“The Library is underutilized by many of the people who could benefit the most,” Clarke said. “In particular, members of our Hispanic community could be served better.  We reach some with our Bookmobile.  This is another way for us to let people know about all the great free programs that we have available.”A fun and educational puppet show by Tucker’s Tales kicked off the event.The event kicked off with an entertaining yet educational children’s puppet show presented by Tucker’s Tales. One puppet skit entitled “Is it Going to Rain?” taught about meteorology, another was math-related and another covered the language arts.Parents were then taken to a room where dozens of brand new free coats were arranged by size. Each participating child was given a free coat selected by his or her parents.An overview of the extensive children’s programming and after-school events was presented and bi-lingual representatives were on-hand for those seeking clarification on anything in their first language.In addition to a free coat, each participating child was permitted to select two free books provided by Operation Warm.The volunteers and the library’s dedicated team brought Operation Warm to life.“It’s a great chance for us to connect with some of the less fortunate in our community and to raise awareness,” said Clarke.Each child also signed-up for and received their own library card.While some of the parents were picking out coats for their children, the other kids received a free craft kit and participated in making a craft project to take home with them.  Then the two groups switched places.“I’m extremely proud of how much the Library has grown,” said Clarke, who previously worked at the Atlantic City Free Public Library and came to the Ocean City facility in 1979.“When I started here we were located in a tiny space inside the old High School building. We now have a wide range of offerings.  We’re a really good library.”A good library doing good things for its community.All in all, it was an evening that left everyone feeling, well, warm!Each child received two books of their choice to take home.last_img read more