The annual Coast Guard blanket and coat drive is underway in Juneau, and so far, the donation bins have been overflowing.
Decorated bins, with signs asking for new or gently used items, were placed at seven different locations across the capital city last Wednesday.
“We normally just pick them up at the end of the week,” Coast Guard officer Katharine Martorelli said, as she scooped up the items in the Foodland IGA bin Monday evening, “but we now have to come on a daily basis and clean them out because we get so many donations, which is great. We always have a really big turnout.”
Each year, Coast Guard members collects the items and delivers them to Southeast Alaska villages on a Coast Guard cutter.
Several businesses in the community help with the effort. Alaska Laundry & Dry Cleaners cleans all the items for free before they are placed in tire bags donated by Les Schwab, which are then packed into fish totes donated by Taku Fisheries. The totes are then loaded up on the Coast Guard ship.
The Coast Guard cutter Liberty, homeported in Auke Bay, will be delivering this year’s items to Pelican, Hoonah, Angoon and Tenakee Springs in the second week of December, said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Graham Lanz.
It’s a 20-year-old tradition, Lanz added. He said the drive is hosted by three different Coast Guard related associations: the Juneau Officers Association, the Chief Petty Officers Association and Coast Guard Enlisted Association.
Those wishing to donate new or gently used blankets and coats can drop them off at the following locations through Dec. 1: The lobby of the Federal Building on West Ninth Street, the Juneau Family Health and Birth Center, Foodland IGA, Fred Meyer, Super Bear Supermarket, Safeway and Nugget Mall near Vintage Fare Cafe.