Warmth spreads for Tahoe’s youth
One could wonder if a truck was heisted with adults giving snow jackets still wrapped in plastic and boots still in their box to children in a back room at Bijou Community School.
The new snow gear was the fruit of Lake Tahoe Community College’s Foundation Martin Luther King Jr. project, now in its fourth year.
With help from two $4,000 donations from the Felice Foundation and South Lake Tahoe Rotary, the project was able to purchase more than $8,000 worth of winter clothing at rock-bottom prices for underprivileged children.
Youths in kindergarten to eighth-grade were identified by principals, school nurses and teachers to get clothing for winter.
Wednesday at Bijou Community School was the first day of the project. Snowpants were the hot item with 100 finding owners during the initial hours.
Roughly 300 students stood in line throughout the morning to get one or a combination of items.
“Some of them have been really excited. Others are really shy and don’t know what’s going on,” said LTCC student Barb Tralmer.
Tralmer’s anatomy teacher asked for volunteers for the project. Her schedule would only allow her one day to help students find the right-sized gear.
“It’s like I’m working at Macy’s,” said Michelle Cornair, a college employee who pressed the toes of one child to check the size of snow boots.
Fifth-grader Casey Cabristante picked a baby-blue jacket. Outfitted for the cold, she already had plans to “play in the snow, sled and snowboard with my brothers.”
Pacific Trail, an outerwear clothing company in Seattle, slashed individual prices for youth jackets to $7 from more than $150. Representative Jeff Munson could not be reached for comment.
The first year the college’s foundation began the project, 120 jackets were needed, said Anne Luerken, director of the college’s foundation.
Four years later, the need for jackets have more than doubled. Cost of living, a tight job market and other economic pressures on South Shore families have likely caused the increased need for winter clothing.
Students like Casey were appreciative of the new threads.
“I want to say thank you to them because they gave me a jacket and gloves to play in the snow,” Casey said.
This week the project will visit South Tahoe Middle School, St. Theresa Catholic School and the elementary sites of Tahoe Valley, Sierra House and Zephyr Cove.
– E-mail William Ferchland at email@example.com