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PHOENIX -- As they kick off the United Phoenix Firefighters Association's Annual Coat Drive to benefit homeless children, Valley firefighters say you don't need a big wallet, just a big heart to help a child in need.

"People tend to think of other countries when we talk about children in need and homelessness, but in reality it's happening right here," said Phoenix Fire Capt. Rich Bauer. "This is just one small thing that firefighters can do for these children that we run into on a daily basis."

The annual event is said to be one of the most effective and fastest coat drives in the country.

Firefighters will collect new coats at the Desert Ridge Marketplace at Loop 101 and Tatum Boulevard near the Sandbar Mexican Grill on Dec. 5 from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. The coats will be donated to children at the Salvation Army the following day.

Generous donations of coats, from infant to teen sizes, will be accepted, along with cash donations.

If you're doing holiday shopping at Old Navy, the department store is offering a discount if you mention that the coat you're purchasing is for the United Phoenix Firefighters Coat Drive.

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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