Books and warm coats provided for Pratt-area children

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Operation Warm participants included (front, from left) Pratt Teen Board Member Tammy Killough, PHS students Ashley Vargas, Lucas Baker, Erin Jackson, Elks Grant Writer/Trustee Kasey Voss and Elks Member Sara Ibarra. (Back Row) PreK Teachers Dani Ricke and Jessica Fortune, Elk Member Karen Riffey 
and Elk Treasurer Brenda Riffey.

Pratt Elks Lodge members presented 77 coats and 37 books to the Pratt PreK teachers via Operation Warm at the end of last month. Pratt Public Library joined in the presentations at the Pratt PreK school. Brochures were placed in the children’s book bags sharing activities at the libary during partial pandemic closure. 

PreK teachers said they were very excited about the new books. The school administrator of the pre-school said that the coats were especially appreciated this year because of the decision to extend recess time outside on permissible days rather than using the gym.

The books chosen to be distributed have been nominated for the Caldecott Award in 2020. They are picture books with themes that would allow the PreK teachers to read and create valuable class discussion. 

Operation Warm and the distribution of coats/books were made possible by combing the Beacon and Spotlight grants from the Elks National Foundation by grant writer Kasey Voss. 150 coats valued at $3,000 were ordered along with 37 books. Elks members Linda Stelzer and Brenda Riffey worked with Skyline and Southwest school nurses and two PreK teachers on sizing before ordering. 

Coats and books were also delivered to Skyline and Southwest schools the following week in conjunction with the Hope Center and Circles/Ally program on the remaining coats. Thanks to all who made this possible.