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Warmer winter ahead for hundreds of Juneau School District students

This month, the Alaska Cruise Association donated 400 jackets to the Juneau School District through the Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation to the nonprofit Operation Warm.

John Binkley, President of the Alaska Cruise Association/CLIA Alaska (left) , presents Juneau School District Chief of Staff Kristin Bartlett and Board of Education President Brian Holst with 400 warm coats for Juneau students.

John Binkley, President of the Alaska Cruise Association/CLIA Alaska (left) , presents Juneau School District Chief of Staff Kristin Bartlett and Board of Education President Brian Holst with 400 warm coats for Juneau students.

Operation Warm provides new winter coats to children in need throughout the U.S. by partnering with corporations and community organizations. According to the group, more than 16 million children in the United States live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.

The Alaska Cruise Association/CLIA Alaska is a not-for-profit organization whose membership includes the 12 major cruise lines operating in Alaska.

“Juneau is an important community for the cruise lines,” John Binkley, president of the Alaska Cruise Association/CLIA Alaska said. “We are pleased to partner with the Juneau School District to help students that can use a new and warm coat”, Binkley said, then added, “The School District is so helpful and easy to work with in partnering on projects such as this.”

The Juneau School District currently has 150 children enrolled in the Students and Families in Transition Program. This program helps children and families that do not have a fixed, regular or adequate nighttime residence.

However, the number of children in need far exceeds these 150 students. Juneau School District Board of Education President Brian Holst explained, “Our total enrollment is 4,724 students and 27 percent qualify for Free and Reduced Meals based on federal guidelines. This means that about 1,275 of our students are living in poverty or low-income households.”

“Corporate donors fill a great need and make a difference in the lives of children in our community,” Holst said. “Brand new winter coats help make our students feel valued and let them know that their community cares about their well- being.”

The new winter coats will be distributed this month through the Department of Student Services to children in all grade levels at all schools in the district.

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