Over 1,300 St. Louis Public School Students Receive Free Coats From Stifel

Christmas comes early for kids needing a way to stay warm

Brian Kelly
November 16, 2018 - 12:40 pm

Brian Kelly/KMOX

There were a lot of smiling faces at St. Louis ' Gateway Elementary School Friday morning, as each of the 536 students was given a new winter coat courtesy of Stifel Financial.

Stifel Managing Director Kevin Ortmeyer, who founded the "Coats for Kids" program in Chicago says a new coat means a lot more to a child, than just keeping warm.

"If a child doesn't have a proper coat, their mothers will keep them home from school," Ortmeyer pointed out to KMOX's Brian Kelly. "That interferes with their education. And if they don't have a coat, they can't go outside and play [during recess]. Educators tell me children need that break in the middle of the day to focus on their studies in the afternoon."

Ortmeyer notes some mothers have inconvenient solutions for their child if he or she doesn't have a coat.

"Some mothers will put their children in five layers of clothing to protect them from the winter cold, and then it's disruptive when the child is trying to take off five layers and put on five layers. Finally, other kids make fun of them when they don't have a coat and when they're dressed in layers. They look odd."

A couple dozen volunteers from Stifel Financial stopped by Gateway Elementary in St. Louis this morning, to give every one of the school's 536 students a new winter coat. Students in four other schools were also slated to get coats Friday.