Karen Wright with some of the nearly 700 gloves she has collected on Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. White gives the gloves away to children throughout Southeast Alaska. White was named best realtor in the Juneau Empire’s Reader’s Choice Awards. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Karen Wright with some of the nearly 700 gloves she has collected on Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. White gives the gloves away to children throughout Southeast Alaska. White was named best realtor in the Juneau Empire’s Reader’s Choice Awards. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

‘A little labor of love:’ Realtor brings in 700 gloves for kids

Glove drive to go through end of month

The glove drive started innocently.

Southeast Alaska Real Estate Realtor Karen Wright gave away several dozen winter gloves five or six years ago to her granddaughter, Cherish Fink’s, previous school, Sayéik: Gastineau Community School. It was the beginning of a burgeoning glove drive. With about two weeks left in this year’s drive, Wright said she’s within about 25 pairs of gloves of reaching her goal of 700, more than three times what she collected last year.

“It started as a little labor of love,” Wright, 54, said in a phone interview. “My granddaughter was over at Gastineau Elementary School, and I knew that there was some days that she’d show up without gloves. I was at a dollar store down south, and they had cheap gloves and I thought, ‘Well, I could always buy some gloves and take them over to the (school) nurse.’”

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In the last three years, Wright said gloves have been given to every preschool student enrolled in Tlingit and Haida’s Head Start program.

This year’s gloves will be spread out again to Head Start, as well as eight local and eight regional elementary schools.

“I knew that there were definitely kids there (Gastineau) that just did not have warm hands in the wintertime, it just happens,” Wright said. “As I say, ‘Some kids need gloves for the day, and some kids need gloves for the season,’ and so we take donations of the little cheapo stretchy gloves, but we also get quite a few donations of the really good, robust, really nice pair of gloves that the kids are going to need so that they have gloves for the whole season.”

Wright spreads the word about the drive via multiple channels, from the Southeast Living magazine to social media, and gloves come from many different sources. Wright has also partnered with several businesses over the years to promote the drive.

“The entire community comes out and supports this and it’s pretty darn amazing,” Wright said.

Wright is a member of the Glacier Valley Rotary Club and said she treats the Rotary motto “Service Above Self” as her “personal call to action in pretty much everything that I do.”

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“Service to my community is something that’s really near and dear to my heart and something I try to do on a regular, on-going basis,” Wright said.

The drive will wrap up at the end of the month. Next month, the gloves will be sorted, bagged and distributed to the various schools.

To participate in the drive, drop-off new or lightly-used gloves to Southeast Alaska Real Estate at 8585 Old Dairy Road, inside the Kootznoowoo Plaza.

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.

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