Homeless helping homeless ‘be full and warm’

A December night on Juneau’s streets will almost certainly be a cold one, but for those battling homelessness a warm blanket could soon be on its way.

Logan Henkins, 32, battled an addiction that landed him in the hospital three months ago. He found himself without a home but sought shelter at the Glory Hole, Juneau’s homeless shelter and soup kitchen.

Now, after being taken of by others, he wants to pay it forward. He has created an exchange program that supplies blankets to others like him on the street.

“I can’t get my friends off the streets,” Henkins, born and raised in Juneau, said near a pile of donated goods inside the South Franklin shelter. “This is an opportunity to go out and give them food and blankets and make warmth and food accessible all the time.”

With permission from Glory Hole Director Mariya Lovishchuk, Henkins started a blanket exchange program one month ago. Every night, Henkins heads out with other Glory Hole volunteers to pass out clean blankets and sack meals. When blankets are returned, they get a clean blanket and a sack lunch for the road.

Henkins said his goal is to deliver a blanket and meal to those normally turned away at the Glory Hole because of alcohol. The Glory Hole has a no-alcohol policy that prohibits anyone with 0.10 percent alcohol on his or her breath from spending the night there.

His message to those who feel disconnected from the Glory Hole: “We still love you. You’re loved. Be full and warm,” Henkins said.

Lovishchuk said the Glory Hole relies on patrons like Henkins who don’t just accept help, but try to give back, too. Patrons often come to her with volunteering ideas, but delivering meals with blankets is a first, Lovishchuk said.

“My philosophy is that I should do what I can to help, or at the very minimum try to stay out of their way,” Lovishchuk said. “In Logan’s case, he is pretty exceptional with his volunteer efforts. It really does seem to be his primary motivation in life to help other people. That’s really a unique thing, not just among people who are experiencing homelessness, but really among all people.”

Henkins’ said he spends his days reaching out to hotels or searching the streets for discarded blankets he can clean and distribute. Fellow Glory Hole patron Joshua Smith said if he misses mealtime, he searches the streets for a blanket to use in the exchange program. When friends on the street ask him how he got the meal, he tells them find a blanket and they’ll see.

“It’s become my passion to do something useful,” Smith said.

Sunday night, Smith collected four blankets. Combined with other returned blankets, Henkins had six blankets washed and ready to hand out Monday night to the usual spots where he knows friends too inebriated for the Glory Hole tend to gather.

“(Sunday night,) I got a big hug from a lady friend that was really drunk and crying when I wrapped two fleece blankets around her and gave her a bag lunch. That’s the blessing,” Henkins said. “It means a lot to be able to give my friends food. That’s beautiful.”

Henkins said the blanket exchange program is in need of more donations from the community to expand its reach. Clean and dirty blankets are accepted at the Glory Hole, 247 S. Franklin St. For more information, call the Glory Hole at 586-4159.

• Contact reporter Paula Ann Solis at 523-2272 or at paula.solis@juneauempire.com.

More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Nov. 27

Mountain reflections are seen from the Mendenhall Wetlands. (Courtesy Photo / Denise Carroll)
Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

Superb reader-submitted photos of wildlife, scenery and/or plant life.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire 
At Wednesday evening’s special Assembly meeting, the Assembly appropriated nearly $4 million toward funding a 5.5% wage increase for all CBJ employees along with a 5% increase to the employer health contribution. According to City Manager Rorie Watt, it doesn’t necessarily fix a nearly two decade-long issue of employee retention concerns for the city.
City funds wage increase amid worker shortage

City Manager says raise doesn’t fix nearly two decade-long issue of employee retainment

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Dec. 3

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Molly Yazwinski holds a 3,000-year-old moose skull with antlers still attached, found in a river on Alaska’s North Slope. Her aunt, Pam Groves, steadies an inflatable canoe. (Courtesy Photo /Dan Mann)


2. A 14,000-year-old fragment of a moose antler, top left, rests on a sand bar of a northern river next to the bones of ice-age horses, caribou and muskoxen, as well as the horns of a steppe bison. Photo by Pam Groves.


3. Moose such as this one, photographed this year near Whitehorse in the Yukon, may have been present in Alaska as long as people have. Photo by Ned Rozell.
Alaska Science Forum: Ancient moose antlers hint of early arrival

When a great deal of Earth’s water was locked up within mountains… Continue reading

FILE - Freight train cars sit in a Norfolk Southern rail yard on Sept. 14, 2022, in Atlanta. The Biden administration is saying the U.S. economy would face a severe economic shock if senators don't pass legislation this week to avert a rail worker strike. The administration is delivering that message personally to Democratic senators in a closed-door session Thursday, Dec. 1.  (AP Photo / Danny Karnik)
Congress votes to avert rail strike amid dire warnings

President vows to quickly sign the bill.

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Juneau state Sen. Jesse Kiehl, left, gives a legislative proclamation to former longtime Juneau Assembly member Loren Jones, following Kiehl’s speech at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce’s weekly luncheon Thursday at the Juneau Moose Family Center.
Cloudy economy, but sunnier political outlook lie ahead for lawmakers, Kiehl says

Juneau’s state senator tells Chamber of Commerce bipartisan majority a key to meaningful action

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Friday, Dec. 2

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Hunter credits community members for Thanksgiving rescue

KENAI — On Thanksgiving, Alaska Wildlife Troopers released a dispatch about a… Continue reading

Most Read