Organization helps outfit Southeast children

Wayne Stevens, President and CEO of United Way of Southeast, watches as clothes gathered by the Kids in Distressed Situations program are readied to be sent to Sitka social-service groups. Photo by United Way staff.

A nationwide program is shipping new clothes to needy children in Southeast communities.

New York-based Kids in Distressed Situations sends several shipments a year to Anchorage-based Cook Inlet Tribal Council. The clothes are then delivered to organizations around the state.

Jennifer Treadway coordinates the program for United Way of Southeast Alaska.

“They take any of the clothes that didn’t sell. It’s like (the clothes have) Kermit and no one wants Kermit, they want Mickey Mouse,” Treadway said. “It’s all new clothes; none of it is used.”

Shipments, including this month’s, can also include children’s books, baby products and toys.

Boxes of clothes are stored by World Wide Movers, waiting wait to be shipped to social-service groups. Photo by United Way staff.

Treadway says the program also covers older children.

“Our more recent shipment was a lot of children’s pajamas. But it also included some name-brand athletic T-shirts with different colleges (names). And the shipment before that was a bunch of shoes similar to Ugg boots, which was definitely geared toward teenage girls,” she said.

The Juneau-based United Way chapter works with member agencies and The Salvation Army to get the items to kids in need. They include low-income and homeless families, victims of domestic abuse and children with incarcerated parents.

Alaska Airlines, Alaska Marine Lines and Worldwide Movers provide free shipping and warehouse storage.

Cook Inlet Tribal Council estimates the program serves about 8,000 families statewide.

This month, KIDS clothing went to: Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies (AWARE), Catholic Community Service, Helping Hands, Sitka Counseling and Prevention Services, Sitkans Against Family Violence and St. Vincent de Paul, as well as Salvation Army Corps Community Centers in Haines, Hoonah, Juneau, Kake, Ketchikan, Klawock, Petersburg, Sitka, and Wrangell.