Salvation Army to give coats away on Saturday

With the fireweed blossoms long gone and leaves turning yellow, it’s time to think about what’s around the corner: winter.

With that in mind, the Salvation Army is holding a coat give-away for area youngsters at the Salvation Army’s Sterling Highway location from noon-2 p.m. Saturday.

“We have tons and tons of coats that came from Fred Meyer’s,” said Lt. Christin Frankhauser. “They have distributed the coats throughout Alaska for the Salvation Army to give out free of charge to people in need.”

Sizes include 2T through youth extra large. There are no eligibility requirements. Just show up and pick out a coat.

“I’ll ask people to sign in and tell me how many coats they’re picking up. That’s all I need to know,” said Frankhauser of tracking of how many of the couple hundred coats available are distributed.

In past years, the coats have been available nearer to the holiday season.

“This year I wanted the kids to get coats before it gets cold,” said Frankhauser of doing the give-away in September.

Last year, Frankhauser and her husband Lt. Caleb Frankhauser helped organize the coat distribution in Petersburg. In July, the couple and their 3-year-old daughter Julia relocated to Homer to take the place of Lts. Jeff and Michelle Josephson, who were transferred to the Matanuska-Susitna valley area.  

This is the first time Shristin Frankhauser, who is originally from Las Vegas, has been to Homer. As a teenager and student at East High School in Anchorage, Caleb Frankhauser visited Homer on missions with the Salvation Army.  The couple met while attending seminary school in 2000 and married in 2006. Their first assignment as pastors was three years ago in Petersburg.

“We know we’re not here forever. The Salvation Army moves people around as an opening occurs,” said Frankhauser.

Since arriving, Frankhauser has become active with the local Lions Club and her husband with Rotary. 

“We’re looking forward to our time in Homer,” she said. “It’s nice to have that small-town feel, but big-town access, to be off the island and on the road system and be able to explore places.”

The Salvation Army in Homer has a congregation of about 25 people. 

“And we’re always open for more,” said Frankhauser. “There have been a lot of out-of-towners during the summer looking for someplace to go on Sunday morning.” 

In addition to the church, the Salvation Army operates the Thrift Store on Pioneer Avenue.

“We have a great manager who is very independent,” said Frankhauser of Kelly Kokel. “We rarely have to step in for anything.” 

The Salvation Army in Homer also distributes emergency food and commodity foods that are purchased by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since January, they have provided:

• 739 grocery orders, including commodities and emergency food baskets;

• 447 clothing vouchers at the Thrift Store;

• 91 furniture and household vouchers at the Thrift Store.

With the holiday season ahead, the Salvation Army will begin accepting applications for Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets in October.

“If there’s something in the community that needs attention, maybe a special need we can fill, that’s what we’re looking for,” said Frankhauser.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at