Fairbanks’ second Community Needs Drive is happening Saturday. As local organizations scramble to meet the needs of the community in light of state budget cuts, AmeriCorps VISTA and the Fairbanks Housing and Homeless Coalition are offering residents a chance to let someone else do the sorting, organizing and delivering.

The Community Needs Drive is one-stop drop-off for those who want to donate their belongings and make sure that they go to organizations that can use them. 

The drive will supply gently used goods to 10 area organizations. Those who want to help can bring their items to Love INC’s new location on 609 3rd St. between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday. Volunteers will sort the donations and distribute them to local agencies.

While residents can drop off their donations and leave right away, they are invited to enjoy refreshments supplied by the Salvation Army. There will also be an information table with pamphlets on the supported organizations.

The first needs drive occurred in December and was the brainchild of AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Leader Ashton Varner. She said she likes to donate items but wasn’t sure which of the many charitable organizations in town might need them most. 

Varner said she found Fairbanks to be a “very generous community” and felt that an event like this one was a good excuse to declutter and help out at the same time. Last year, seven organizations signed up to receive donations at the drive. When volunteers received items that those organizations couldn’t use, they were able to donate the items and help an additional three charities.

The 10 organizations signed up so far this year are the Fairbanks Rescue Mission, Interior Alaska Center for Non-violent Living, Fairbanks Re-entry Coalition, Fairbanks Native Association, Love INC, Thrivalaska, Boys and Girls Club, Breadline, Learning Inside Outside Network correctional facility outreach, and IAC Sober Living Apartments.

“I think a lot of people think of clothing — maybe blankets or towels, but it’s really interesting to see what the agencies request, because of all the different programming that they’re involved in,” Varner said.

Needed items include clothing for men, women and children but also furniture, cleaning supplies, toys, games, sports equipment, winter coats and personal hygiene supplies such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and feminine hygiene supplies. Varner requests that donations of bedding and clothing be washed prior to donation and that items come in a bag, box or tote. A full list of requested items can be found at vistafairbanks.org/needsdrive.

There is some overlap among the needs of the  organizations. Varner said volunteers will ensure that the items are divided among the agencies and sent where they are needed.

Contact Cheryl at 459-6240 or find her on Twitter @FDNMcity.

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