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United Way and Rimrock Subaru help families during winter with Operation Warm

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Posted at 11:49 PM, Feb 01, 2024

BILLINGS - Bringing smiles to the faces of children.

That was the goal of Rimrock Subaru and the United Way of Yellowstone County as they joined forces for Operation Warm on Thursday night.

From coats to shoes to socks, homeless children and those in need received it all to keep everyone warm this winter season.

"She's very appreciative of getting a new coat," George Lehman said about his foster daughter, who is in the 2nd grade. "She loves the color blue so they had blue shoes and a blue balloon."

"My favorite color is pink," said Leilah Rideshorse, who is in the 3rd grade.

"It's a great thing for the community because there's a lot of less fortunate people," said Roberta Stiffarm, Leilah's mother. "My daughter's really happy."

Operation Warm manufactures clothing, that the national nonprofit says provides emotional warmth, confidence, and hope.

Rimrock Subaru put out $12,500 for clothing and food.

"Honestly, I have helped a couple of kids into their shoes already," said Ashley Roy, Rimrock Subaru internet marketing manager. "And just to be able to see the joy on their face after they've picked out their shoes and made it over towards the jackets. It's been really rewarding just to see how grateful they are to have a new pair of shoes."

According to School District 2, more than 600 children are homeless in the Billings public schools.

The United Way of Yellowstone County invited about 200 children to the first-time event.

"I reached out to School District 2 and different agencies like Aware and Young Families Early Head Start, for who are the underserved children in our community."

And the parents say the clothes are much needed for winter.

"She likes being outside so having an extra coat is going to help," Lehman said. "Pretty awesome."

"We haven't had a lot of income to buy a winter jacket," said Priscilla Martinez. "So that's very helpful. He has a jacket but it's kind of falling apart. And he's just growing so big and I just couldn't afford it at the moment."

They also picked up a bag of food and they're all thankful for the help.

"He's appreciative of it," Martinez said about her son Blair Fisher, Jr., who is in kindergarten. "He likes it. And thankful"

"They have most kind hearts," Stiffarm said about Rimrock Subaru and the United Way.

"I'm very thankful for everything," Rideshorse said.