Keeping Warm: JROTC’s Head, Hands, and Feet Returns

The clothing drive will be accepting donations until December 15

Kaylee Powell, Staff Writer

It’s finally fall in Georgia which means that the temperature is going to heavily fluctuate from 90 degrees to 40 in a matter of minutes and with poverty levels rising, due to COVID-19, it’s becoming clear that gloves, hats, and socks are going to be needed.  That’s where Chamblee’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs come in. From now until December 15, JROTC will be collecting warm clothes to redistribute to the homeless and less fortunate.

The goal of this initiative is straightforward; they want students to donate new hats, gloves, and socks. If you can’t buy items, making and donating your own items is also an option.

“We put emphasis on new [items] so [they know] that they’re special and [that] these are not items that are being handed down,” said U.S. Army Retired Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Gloria D. Dunklin, one of the Chamblee JROTC leaders. “‘These are items that [are] actually there for you, they are new items that we want to give to you.’ […] We give them out [with the idea], ‘You’re special, we want you to have that.’”

Once all items are collected, JROTC will partner with multiple outside organizations to distribute these care packages in neon yellow bags.

“Once collections are completed, we distribute the donations along with a bag, snack, and water bottle at various homeless shelters and locations around Atlanta,” said Cadet Major Tyler Sun (‘22).

The yellow bag was an intentional add-on. The brightness of the bag works at night to alert drivers that a person is walking.

“We wanted [the bags] to be bright, because sometimes at night, if [the homeless] have this bag on, that is the only protection that they have for someone to see them,” said Dunklin.

This initiative began in 2017 and current students are working to continue this initiative even during the pandemic.

“This started from our initiative in 2017 when the cadets needed to come up with a service-learning plan. They [wondered how they could help the] less fortunate stay warm. The cadets […] did research [and] came up with [the idea that] if your head is warm, your hands are warm and your feet are warm, then most likely you’re going to be a little bit warmer,” said Dunklin. “We decided that we will start donating [hats, gloves, and socks]. […] Those three items, along with a bottle of water and a protein bar, can kind of help get a person through the next day.”

For those interested in donating hats, gloves, or socks, there is a box located outside of the JROTC room on the first floor, located next to the side stairwell to the left of the cafeteria.

“We currently only have one box [by] the double doors right outside of JROTC [room] but of course they can always […] hand it to a cadet,” said Dunklin.