Assemblymember Rivera Partners with Operation Warm, Highmark and Jericho Road to Kick Off Winter Clothing Drive

Donations will help refugees and New Americans transition to the challenges of Buffalo winters

Buffalo, NY – With the reality of the winter months finally setting in across our region, Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera has announced a winter clothing drive to support Jericho Road and the refugees and New Americans who may find themselves unprepared for the challenges of a Buffalo winter.

In the aftermath of major winter storms over the past few weeks, Assemblymember Rivera recognized the importance of extending a warm welcome to our new community members and ensuring their well-being and safety during the coldest months of the year.

To meet this critical requirement, he partnered with Operation Warm, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that manufactures brand-new, high-quality coats and shoes for children in need. Operation Warm aims to improve childhood academic outcomes and address childhood poverty through their new coats and shoes program. According to their 2023 annual report, they distributed 650,000 coats and pairs of shoes in fiscal year 2023 across 58 states and provinces in the United States and Canada.  Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield generously stepped in to provide the funding necessary to produce the coats, which will be donated to New Americans with the help of Jericho Road.

Located on Buffalo’s West Side, Jericho Road’s goal is to provide excellent medical care to all who walk through the doors, regardless of their ability to pay. In addition to serving patients from Buffalo, JRFP cares for a large number of refugees, many of whom have never seen a doctor or received proper medical care before coming to America.

Buffalo’s winters can be particularly harsh, and for individuals arriving from warmer climates, adapting to the colder weather can be a significant challenge. According to the National Weather Service, climate averages for Buffalo reflect a temperature increase ranging from .2 to 1.2 degrees for nine of the twelve months of the year, comparing 1981-2010 to 1991-2020. These temperature increases lead to a warmer lake, resulting in more dramatic and unpredictable snowstorms which can leave even lifelong residents unprepared.

In addition to the initial donation of the coats, Assemblymember Rivera is kicking off a winter clothing drive to collect essential warm weather gear like new or gently used coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and boots.

Donation drop-off locations will be set up at the following locations:

  • Assemblymember Jon Rivera’s Buffalo Office
    65 Grant Street

      Buffalo, NY 14213

  • Assemblymember Jon Rivera’s Hamburg Office
    40 Main Street, lower back entrance

Hamburg, NY 14075

  • Lackawanna Councilmember Amira Muflahi’s Office
    Lackawanna City Hall
    714 Ridge Rd.
    Lackawanna NY 14218
  • St. Anthony RC Church
    306 Ingham Ave.
    Lackawanna, NY 14218

Items can be donated for the entire month of February. In addition to donations from individuals or families, local organizations and businesses are invited to partner in this endeavor.

Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera said, “Part of being a ‘good neighbor’ Buffalonian means looking around and making sure everyone has what they need to get through tough winter months. There are so many challenges when acclimating to a new city, but together we can make sure something as simple as winter coats and boots aren’t one of them. I want to thank Operation Warm and Blue Cross Blue Shield for partnering with my office on this clothing drive to support Jericho Road, as we hope to make a significant difference in the lives of those who have chosen Buffalo as their new home.”

City of Lackawanna Councilmember Amira Muflahi said, “The gift of warmth is truly priceless. We experience extremely cold temperatures and I’m so grateful for Operation Warm, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Jericho Road, and Assemblyman Jon Rivera for blessing our neighbors and friends with winter items to keep them cozy and warm. This is what community looks like and I am so honored to be a part of it.”

Anna Ireland Mongo, Chief Program Officer at Jericho Road, said, “We are humbled by the continuous giving of our Buffalo community to welcome our new neighbors and friends.  We are grateful to Assemblymember Rivera and his team for coordinating this drive and we know our newest neighbors will benefit greatly from this generosity.”

Matt Friedman, Grants Manager for Operation Warm, said, “Operation Warm is honored to collaborate with Assemblymember Rivera on our shared goal of supplying essential items to children in underserved communities. This partnership empowers us to make meaningful contributions that positively influence the lives of 250 Buffalo children.”

Michael Ball, Vice President of Community Affairs at Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, said, “Winter clothing drives offer a symbol of hope, and shield of protection for our fellow community members in need. We’re especially pleased to partner with Assemblyman Jon Rivera and Operation Warm to provide warm, and needed clothing items to our newest neighbors, many of whom are experiencing Buffalo’s harsh winter elements for the first time.”

For more information on Operation Warm and their work to provide winter clothing for children in need, visit their Web site.

For more information on the National Weather Service’s Climate models, visit