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One organization's quest to supply coats to millions of children in low-income families

Operation Warm gives coats to kids in need
Operation Warm gives coats to kids in need 01:30

About 27 million American children live in low-income families, and are in need of a coat to bundle up against the cold. 

Third grader Mikayla did not have the simple necessity on a 30 degree day. 

"It's freezing. My hands are freezing, my body is freezing," she said.

Mikayla is one of 800 students at a New York City public school taking home a winter jacket thanks to Operation Warm.

"Because the coat is the first thing, it's the tangible thing. But what that really provides is warmth, physical warmth, the emotional warmth," Operation Warm's marketing director, Brenda Lee, told CBS News.

In the past 23 years, the nonprofit has manufactured more than 4 million coats for children in need across the country, paid for by donations.

"It's the difference between going to school on a cold day or staying home," Lee said.

Coat requests have tripled during the pandemic.

Kids, like kindergartener Isabella, get to pick their coat color. She said her favorite colors are pink and purple. 

Each coat costs under $25 to make, but the joy one brings is priceless.

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