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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Monday, January 3, 2011

Face of Defense: Soldier Leads Charge for Charity

By Army Staff Sgt. Matthew E. Winstead
U.S. Army Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Dec. 20, 2010 - Army Pfc. Jasmine Irving made her way through the snow-packed streets of downtown Anchorage with a bounty of donated items to benefit area homeless families.

Irving, joined by two of her fellow soldiers and one of their children, was on her way Dec. 17 to unload the donations she had collected over the past few weeks.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Pfc. Jasmine Irving greets administrators from Catholic Social Services of Anchorage, Alaska, Dec. 17, 2010. Irving collected donations of clothing, food and toys to benefit homeless families in Anchorage during the holiday season. Courtesy photo by Matthew E. Winstead

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"I received approval to do this from the installation and my chain of command, but I did this pretty much on my own," said Irving, a supply clerk with 25th Infantry Division's 4th Brigade, based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. "I did have help here and there. My friends and coworkers helped out a lot." She set up two collection points on post for donations and raised awareness for the project through flyers she designed and word of mouth.
Originally, Irving's project was intended to benefit a shelter here that's part of Catholic Social Services. However, that facility wouldn't have been able to make full use of the wide variety of items Irving helped collect. Instead, Irving decided to donate to Catholic Social Services as a whole so the items could be sorted and distributed to where they would be most useful.
Ellen Lawlor Krsnak, director of community relations and advocacy for CSS, said she was very pleased to receive the donations. "It warms the heart to see people that take so much from their own time to help others," Krsnak said. "It reminds you that there are good people out there."
CSS will deliver items such as toys and books to places that cater to families and children, and the clothes and food will be given to shelters and the CSS food pantry.
"We will do our very best to make sure that all of the pieces of the donation go to where they will do the very most good," Krsnak said.
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