Coast Guard makes special delivery to help communities

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Pike went on a BRAVE mission last Wednesday.

Though the vessel is often engaged in patrolling the waters around Wrangell and Petersburg and performing search and rescue operations, the crew took a few hours to help the neighboring communities in another way: Package delivery.

Donated items from Petersburg were transported by the Pike and her crew to the Reliance float in Wrangell. The 66 boxes contained bedding, adult and children's clothing, accessories and all manner of other donated items. Building Respect and Valuing Everyone (BRAVE) volunteers will sell the items to raise funds for the organization's various programs such as the emergency backpacks for people who lack housing or necessities.

"If someone reaches out to us and wants to connect, we're absolutely down to support," said Jak Loewenstein, commanding officer of the Pike. "Humanity In Progress reached out to us, and we look forward to serving the community any way we can."

The Pike, stationed in Petersburg, is new to Alaska, taking over for the recently retired cutter Anacapa. It's 87 feet long and has a crew of 12. It was commissioned in 2005.

Humanity In Progress is a nonprofit agency that addresses the basic needs of those facing homelessness in Petersburg. They collect donated items and sell them to raise funds. What they weren't able to sell at a fundraiser on Jan. 31 was packed up and shipped (literally) to Wrangell for BRAVE to use in its fundraisers.

"When the opportunities arise ... we find out about it to help the community and jump on it," said Kevin Chapman, petty officer aboard the Pike.

Joan Sargent, a volunteer with BRAVE who coordinated the receiving end of the delivery, said the first fundraiser, a rummage sale, will be held at Island of Faith Lutheran Church on Feb. 10-11. Items will be sorted into bags. "We're asking for a $5 donation per bag," she said.

Whatever items aren't sold in Wrangell will be donated to other nonprofits in other communities, Sargent said. After the rummage sale, BRAVE will send items to Anchorage and Sargent will haul some to Oregon to donate to nonprofits there.

Sargent said they've received so many items that they aren't taking donations from people in Wrangell because there's not enough storage space.

As for the Pike, they'll continue to help where they can.

"That's our goal, ultimately, to be as available as possible to the people in Southeast Alaska," Loewenstein said.


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