Gov. Bill Lee, First Lady Maria Lee Distribute New Coats to Students in Hancock County

More than 4,000 coats provided through the First Lady’s Tennessee Serves initiative
Tuesday, October 17, 2023 | 12:52pm

SNEEDVILLE, Tenn.—Today, Governor Bill Lee and First Lady Maria Lee distributed more than 1,000 brand-new winter coats to students in Hancock County through the First Lady’s initiative, Tennessee Serves. In addition to students in the Hancock County school system, more than 3,000 new coats will be provided to every elementary student in Cocke County this month. 

The Governor and First Lady were joined by the Tennessee Serves team of volunteers at Hancock County Elementary and Middle/High Schools to assist students in selecting a coat and providing encouragement to them throughout the event.

“As we prepare for the winter season, we’re mindful of those in need of physical resources to stay warm and comfortable in the changing weather, especially our younger Tennesseans,” said First Lady Maria Lee. “We are grateful to Operation Warm for providing durable coats to students in rural communities which will help them keep warm as colder weather approaches.”

Tennessee Serves partnered with the nonprofit Operation Warm to provide new coats to every elementary student and a portion of middle and high school students in two of the state’s federally designated distressed counties. Since 2022, Operation Warm has helped the First Lady’s nonprofit provide more than 8,700 winter coats to students in four distressed counties, including Morgan, Scott, Hancock and Cocke Counties.

"We are deeply honored to partner with Governor Bill Lee and First Lady Maria Lee in gifting Hancock and Cocke County students brand-new winter coats,” said Grace Sica, Executive Director of Operation Warm. “These coats are more than just winter essentials; they represent a community-wide embrace for the children living in these counties."

Along with students at Hancock County Elementary School, Hancock County Middle/High School and Hancock County Early Learning Center, students at the following Cocke County public schools will receive new coats from Tennessee Serves:

  • Bridgeport Elementary School
  • Cosby Elementary School
  • Centerview Elementary School
  • Del Rio Elementary School
  • Edgemont Elementary School
  • Grassy Fork Elementary School
  • Northwest Elementary School
  • Parrottsville Elementary School
  • Smoky Mountain Elementary School

To learn more about the First Lady’s work through Tennessee Serves, click here.