An anonymous donor had the cool idea of giving warm coats to every one of the 106 students at the St. Augustine Indian Mission.
The students at the private school in Winnebago, Nebraska, each received a Lands’ End down-filled coat Friday courtesy of a donor from the Omaha area. Students from kindergarten through 8th grade gasped when they learned of the gift, said Amber Gamble, assistant principal.
“The faces of the children just lit up when I went from room to room with the coats,” she said. “It would bring tears to your eyes if you could’ve seen how much this meant to them.”
The coats are maroon or green with the St. Augustine logo over the heart. Gamble began figuring out the coat size for each student the same day that the donor approached her with the offer in late November.
“We are in a high-poverty community, so our children don’t have a lot of things they should,” Gamble said. “Many of them were wearing only hooded sweatshirts to school, and those are usually hand-me-downs.”
The donor hit upon the idea of providing winter coats after visiting the school in the fall. He or she noticed that the students couldn’t go outside for recess because most of them didn’t have proper attire for the cold.
“One of the first things the kids were saying was, ‘We can go outside for recess,'” Gamble said. “It was a wonderful decision on (the donor’s) part. These children really love coming to school because it gives them organization and order. To see them struggling in the cold to get here was heartbreaking.”
The donor told Gamble that the only thanks required was “to see the look of joy on the students’ faces.”
“They told me they just fell in love with the kids when they were here,” she said. “For us, this wonderful gift just means the world. Words can’t come close to expressing our appreciation. We are truly overwhelmed.”