by Senior Airman Tammie Ramsouer
JBER Public Affairs
8/27/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- As
the days get shorter and colder, children need to start bundling up.
For some, their winter jackets, gloves and boots don't quite fit
Fortunately, the Army Community Service Center on Joint Base
Elmendorf-Richardson offers the "Koats for Kids" program to service
members and their families. The annual event is an opportunity for the
JBER community to receive and exchange winter clothing before the
"This program has been offered to all [service] members and their
families for about 11 years now on the installation," said Anthea
Acosta, Army Community Service Center relocation readiness program
manager. "We receive anywhere from infant to adult winter clothing in
our donation boxes, so even single service members can use this program
if they need it."
The program collects any winter clothing in good condition from
September to October. The Army Community Service Center encourages
everyone to go through closets and find unneeded winter items to donate.
"This program is used for the families that really can't afford to buy their children new winter clothing," Acosta said.
Donation boxes are placed throughout the installation including the
commissary, Child Development Centers, School Age Programs and at the
673d Medical Group hospital. This allows the parents to donate while
they are out shopping at the commissary or dropping off their children
at the CDCs.
"Sometimes, we have to pick up the donated items every day because our
boxes get so full, so fast," Acosta said. "The boxes at the CDCs are
always the most popular donation boxes, because parents are always
cleaning out their closets; I will normally get a call from the faculty
asking me to come pick up the items."
Once donations are picked up, they are sorted by size and type of clothing for distribution during October.
"We don't mind if people want to exchange for other items while they are
donating at the boxes; it is all free and going to a good cause,"
Acosta said. "I have children, and I know it is hard trying to save
money when they need new winter gear."
"Here at the Talkeetna Child Development Center, we have parents [who]
donate to the 'Koats for Kids' and we have parents who definitely need
it," said Lisa Aguilar, 673d Force Support Squadron education and
training technician at the Talkeetna CDC. "If we can help them, why not
donate our extra winter gear that we know will not be used and give it
someone who can use it?"
Nicole Collins, Ursa Major Parent-Teacher Association vice president,
said she is glad this program is on base to help her and those in her
"I used the program because it helps all families," Collins said. "Let's
face it, kids' winter gear isn't cheap. This program helps those who
might need a little support. I see several kids come to school with
either no winter gear or little spring jackets every year. This program
can help those children."
The Army Community Service Center will be distributing differently this
year. Hours will be during both duty and off-duty hours to accommodate
"I will be putting the clothing out on the tables until we run out,"
Acosta said. "No volunteers will be watching the distribution tables,
but we do ask that people only take what they need so another [person]
in need can have [the] opportunity to provide for their family as well."
"It is a great program, and I do believe it helps families here on
JBER," Collins said. "I myself use the program and will continue to use
it as long as they have it."
For more information about the "Koats for Kids" program, contact the Army Community Service Center at 384-1518.