SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – After a long summer of extreme temperatures, cooler weather will soon be approaching, and coats will be needed.

In a heartwarming display of community support, volunteers from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, in collaboration with Healthy Blue Louisiana, are spreading warmth and joy this week by distributing brand-new coats to over 1,000 children at schools in Shreveport, Bossier City, and Winnsboro.

“You give them a coat, and they don’t wanna take it off that lets you know that you met your mission. And that’s really one of the most life-touching things that I’ve seen is when they don’t want to take it off because they’re so appreciative of what you’ve done for them all,” said Rashad Bristo, a representative from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Healthy Blue.

These philanthropic endeavors are part of their partnership with Operation Warm, a prominent national nonprofit organization devoted to providing not only physical warmth but also confidence and hope to children in low-income families.

This initiative underscores the commitment of these health plans to make a positive impact on the lives of the youngest members of their community.

“These are our community outreach partners, and we’re super excited to have parts of our team, you know, to help with our babies. And it just means a lot to me as a principal when I see my babies come through the door with those smiles and don’t want to take off their coats. That’s all that I need,” said Lashonda Diouf, Midway Professional Development Elementary Principal.

Operation Warm Events:

SHREVEPORT – Tuesday, Sept. 26, 9 – 10 a.m.

Midway Professional Development Elementary 3840 Greenwood Road

BOSSIER CITY – Wednesday, Sept. 27, 11 a.m. – noon

Waller Elementary School 1130 Patricia Dr.

WINNSBORO – Thursday, Sept. 28, 9 – 10 a.m.

Winnsboro Elementary School 1310 Warren St.

“It may be hard to imagine winter weather after our unusually hot summer. But colder temperatures are coming soon, and children will need coats. For many families, buying new winter gear is a financial hardship. That’s why Blue Cross and Healthy Blue have proudly partnered with Operation Warm for several years to host events at local schools. Our volunteers love to watch the students’ faces light up as they pick out their new coats,” said Michael Tipton, president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and head of Community Relations. “Serving our community is an important way we fulfill our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians.”