Victor Lopez, left, and his mother, Hilda, sort the coats donated by Operation Warm inside the County Lake Library in South Salt Lake on Saturday. The family said they were “grateful”. (Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)
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SOUTH SALT LAKE – Hundreds of children and their parents lined up at the Granite branch of the County Lake Library on Saturday, excited for their new coats, shoes and books.
The library is helping to provide new jackets, shoes and books to about 400 children in South Salt Lake. Sara Neal with the Salt Lake County Library said they contacted the family through a local primary school and a non-profit organization designed to help refugees.
The number of participants was larger than expected. Library staff and volunteers took off their coats until they disappeared.
Neal said the County Library has partnered with Operation Warm, a national non-profit organization that has been producing high-quality jackets and shoes for children in need since 2019. The group organizes charity events at different library branches once or twice a year.
In addition to providing access to some basic needs, Neal said, the event aims to bring children to their local library branch and help families see what resources the library has to offer.
“Families who do not have a lot of resources, if they can not afford a coat, sometimes can not afford to buy books for their children, and we want to support all the early learning, and just the surprise that It happens when people come here. ”
Viri Lopez is a single mother with three children, so she says finances are a bit slow. The opportunity to get a warm coat for his child helped a lot. She said she was grateful she received a message from her son’s school informing her of the opportunity.
Lopez said she works from home, but since work begins before her children go to school, they have to walk or ride with the neighbors. Now they will be able to be warm when they need to walk and she can not be with them.
Due to her busy schedule, Lopez could not bring her children to the library, as she said when she left work she was cooking dinner for her children. She said her children were enjoying a rare time away from home at the library on Saturday.
“It helps them get distracted and get out a little bit,” Lopez said.
Neal said it was lucky to see hundreds of families along the line. Many of those crossing are part of the refugee community and may have never experienced a cold winter before, she said.
“To be able to give them a chance of warmth and comfort during the winter is really important,” she said. It is very important. ”
After watching Neal line up on a cold morning, she said she was glad they had a shirt to share.
She hopes the event will also help people learn about the resources at the new Granite Library and take advantage of online resource books, civic classes, language learning, teaching and after-school programs.