PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- To combat the bitter cold in the Delaware Valley this winter, The Salvation Army has partnered with Operation Warm to distribute new winter coats to area youth whose families can't afford one. The sub-freezing temperatures of late have magnified the painful struggle faced by thousands of families who lack the necessary resources to protect their children from the cold. This year, The Salvation Army will distribute more than 9,000 brand new winter coats to children ranging from toddlers to teenagers. The campaign kicked off January with a distribution to more than 200 children. Additional organized distribution events will take place throughout the area continuing throughout February so that children don't have to live without warmth or comfort. "Children who lack the proper winter clothing are at an increased risk for illness and often feel ashamed to attend school without a winter coat," said Major Hester E. Dixon, associate director of operations for The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia. "With a new coat children not only stay healthy but feel better about themselves and thus do better. We're so proud to continue to team up with Operation Warm to ensure that all children are healthy, happy and safe all winter long." "Operation Warm is so happy to be able to help the local children served by The Salvation Army," said Paul Daigle, director of development initiatives for Operation Warm. "This is our fifth year working with The Salvation Army in the Delaware Valley, and this partnership is so crucial to helping needy children within the community." Operation Warm is one of the nation's largest non-profit providers of new winter coats for children in need, and strives to ensure that every child wearing a new winter coat is healthy, able to attend school regularly, and has strong self-esteem. Since its inception in 1998, more than one million coats have given children the priceless gift of warmth.