Coating Chicago’s winter in warmth

coat drive

30 in 2012. 70-plus in 2013!

That’s how many coats the Thomson Reuters Chicago office donated to kids at Ninos Heroes Elementary Community Academy, located on the south side of Chicago.

How it all started

Eric Cochran, who spends two days a week at Heroes as the school’s social worker, asked his friends and family in the fall of 2011 for some help. He wanted to provide winter coats for students at this school who would otherwise have to go without. That first year, Eric was able to provide coats to 12 of the students. 

“In winter 2012, Thomson Reuters Chicago took up the cause and combined employee contributions and company funds budgeted for local charity to provide new winter coats for 30 kids – from pre-K through the 8th grade. In 2013, we ran a yearlong campaign and more than doubled the past year’s donation–we were able to provide coats for 74 of the school’s students”, said Sandi Edison.

Back in November, Maggie Behrens, Sandi Edison and Jessica Kwiatkowski hand-delivered the coats to the kids at the school. “The children’s faces lit up when they tried on their new, warm coats! This melted my heart. Meeting the students and faculty has encouraged the Chicago branch of our Volunteer Action Network to work even harder this year to ensure that we can come through for them again. Our goal is to donate a 100 coats in 2014″, added Jessica.

Even as the thrilled kids donned their new coats, a visibly moved Eric said, “These are little kids, with all the potential of any kid. They just happen to be from a really disadvantaged area. We try to make a difference with them when they are still very young–before they fall prey to the gangs and all the other dangers of the neighborhood they were born into. Knowing that there are people out there that care about them makes a huge impact. Thank you to everyone at Thomson Reuters!”

Why Ninos Heroes?

The Ninos Heroes Elementary Community Academy could use our help! Of the 460 pre-K through eighth-grade students enrolled at Ninos, almost 90% are from low income families. About a tenth of the students have special education needs while almost 7% are limited English learners.