JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
With daylight rapidly getting shorter and cold winter nights just around the corner, it’s a good time to make sure family members are prepared with all the winter gear they’ll need to keep warm.
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s Military & Family Readiness Center is offering clean, gently-used, free coats to keep children warm this winter.
For families relocating to JBER from a warmer climate, equipping the whole family with cold weather gear can be a daunting and expensive task. This program helps to reduce that stress and cost.
“When we arrived at JBER in 2016, one of our first stops was to the family readiness office where we were greeted by friendly staff and got helpful information for getting settled in to our new location,” said Philip Jenkins, retired U.S. Marine. “Within 30 minutes, our three children were ready to face the arctic winter.”
JBER elementary schools fall within the Anchorage School District, which requires outside recess unless the temperature or wind chill factor reaches minus 10. Students are required to wear snow pants, gloves, hats and jackets to play outside.
“You might be surprised at how expensive it can be to outfit children for school, and sometimes during those growth spurts, you may have to do it multiple times per year,” said Reece Baldwin, M&FRC Coats for Kids program lead.
Beyond coats, the M&FRC sometimes has snowsuits, boots, shoes, hats, gloves and scarves available. While most of the winter gear offered is in youth sizes, adult sizes can also be found.
For those experiencing an Alaska winter for the first time, Baldwin recommends always having a coat and a pair of gloves in your vehicle.
While not expected, families who use the program may donate to the cause. When children outgrow their winter gear, parents are encouraged to return it if it’s still in good condition.
“Our family is extremely thankful for the Coats for Kids program,” said Jenkins. “To show our thanks this year, my family was able to donate towards the cause and pay it forward to the next family.”
This program is open to families of all service branches.
The M&FRC is located at building 600, room A139, and is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information on this event or more like it, contact the M&FRC customer service line at 384-1517 or 552-4943 or follow JBER Life of Facebook or visit jberlife.com.