This week, staff writer Laura Rysz talks with Ryan Robeson, who helped organized the Fire & Ice 5K with Kyle Savage to raise money for coats to be distributed to people in need in Scranton School District.

Residence: York, formerly of Scranton

Educational/professional background: Firefighter and graduate of Scranton Preparatory School and University of Scranton

Title: Planner with Kyle Savage

Q: What was the inspiration for this event?

A: Scranton’s fire department has run a winter coat drive known as Operation Warm for many years. In 2018, we decided to expand our program to include our police department, political leaders and community and rebrand it as Operation Unite with an even bigger mission statement. There is a large running community in our area but not too many races over the winter, which is what inspired our Fire and Ice theme.

Q: What is Operation Unite’s mission?

A: Operation Unite focuses on doing our part to combat poverty in our school district. In past years, we have sponsored a school (to receive) winter coats. However, last year it was brought to our attention that many students were going without. With the help of the Scranton Police Department, state Rep. Marty Flynn and his staff, and many businesses and individuals in our community, we were able to provide over 2,500 coats to students in need. We will continue to do our part in order to lift this burden from existence.

Q: Who is the Fire & Ice 5K open to?

A: Anyone is welcome to run or walk and bring their strollers or furry friends.

Q: What else will be on hand at the event?

A: The first 100 registrants will receive a specialized pair of gloves and ice scraper. There will be male and female overall and age group awards. There also will be soup and doughnuts for all runners to warm up with after the race.

Q: How much have you raised in previous years?

A: Over the past two years, we have raised approximately $2,000.

Q: What is your fundraising goal?

A: Our fundraising goal is to be able to answer any coat requests from the Scranton School District at any given time. Just a few weeks ago, we received a call for 234 coats, so we need to be ready. Through registrations and donations, we hope to raise $2,500 at the Fire & Ice 5K this year.

Q: How will proceeds be used?

A: All proceeds go directly to the purchase of winter coats, and our hope is that we can expand enough to provide even more resources to relieve the pressure of poverty among our youth.

If you go

What: Fire & Ice 5K

When: Saturday, Jan. 4; registration, 8:30 a.m.; race, 10 a.m.

Where: Scranton Fire Department headquarters, 518 Mulberry St.

Details: Visit Scranton/FireIce5k.