Founder of Warm Little Ones Coat Fund hands off duties to USD 501

TOPEKA, Kan (WIBW) -- USD 501 recognized retired railroad employee Jim Brewer for his dedication to the Warm Little Ones Coat Fund.

"You know I wasn't going to cry,” Brewer said during a special meeting Wednesday morning.

Brewer created the program nearly 30 years ago.

"I saw in the Daycare on that cold October Day that some of the kids were coming in with ratty looking coats. Some with none at all,” he said.

With the help of the community his mission continued to grow.

"We are able to do at one point four counties around Kansas and Kansas City and two branches opened up in Oklahoma,” Brewer explained.

After three decades of service Brewer decided it was time for him to retire again.

"I'm 75. I knew that I was going to have to slow down and with the help of Fred Wilder and so many other people we're going to be able to continue to do that,” he said.

He handed over responsibilities to the Topeka Public Schools District. They will run the program out of Ross Elementary.

"We have a clothing bank here that we've used for a long time now. And so when we were approached about having the coats here for this program here as well we thought that matched perfectly,” Jephthah Schlingensiepen, a Counselor at Ross Elementary, said.

The District hopes adding the Warm Little Ones Coat Fund will allow them to assist more children and families.

"Educators kind of have first-hand knowledge of the need whether it is a report from a child or family. And we have a lot of those relationships between home and school already established,” Schlingensiepen added.

Brewer said he is happy to receive the continuous support.

"I'm just happy that it will continue on. That was my main goal,” he added.

More information about the Warm Little ones fund and how you can donate can be found here.