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Operation Homefront providing free clothes today for soldiers' families
Operation Homefront providing free clothes today for soldiers' families

Barbara Thomsen (front) explains the clothes program.
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (June 5, 2010) — Want free clothes from Dillards, brand new and still in the packaging?

If you’re from a military family, Operation Homefront has an opportunity today to pick up one bag of clothes, with priority given to spouses of deployed soldiers and to soldiers in the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Leonard Wood.

“It is for all active military and family members; WTU and spouses of deployed soldiers will be given tickets and the ability to shop from 0730 to 0900, and ID cards will be checked at the door,” said Tiffany Hudgell, manager of the Fort Leonard Wood USO.

The event will be at Building 805 on Iowa Avenue, the USO location on Fort Leonard Wood. Families outside the priority groups can get clothes from 9 a.m. until noon.

The program is being coordinated locally by Barbara Thomsen and Tish Anderson.

“Operation Homefront is an organization that supports soldiers their families, deployed and non-deployed, and they have a surplus of clothes and they asked us if we could make them available to soldiers and their families,” Thomsen said.

“We have some great and wonderful clothing,” Thomsen said. “It is mostly women’s clothes, a few men’s clothes, very few children’s clothes. They range from jeans to beautiful dresses and sweaters. This was donated to Operation Homefront by Dillard’s with the stipulation that priority be given to kids in distressed situations.”

The clothing donations to the USO and Operation Homefront through an organization known K.I.D.S., which stands for “Kids in Distressed Situations.”

According to a press release provided by Thomsen, the K.I.D.S. organization helps “children in need and their families by providing new clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books and juvenile products through a network of more than a thousand local social service agencies.”

“These agencies serve youth in poverty-stricken communities through homeless shelters, foster-care facilities, hospitals, relief organizations, food banks and other programs in the U.S. and abroad,” according to the press release.

Thomsen said the women’s clothing ranges from size zero to extra large sizes, and men’s clothing also includes blazers, slacks and jackets.

“Operation Homefront gave us tote bags and you’ll put the clothing in bags you will take home with you,” Thomsen said. “It is one bag per family, not one bag per military ID holder … we actually tested it out and you could get six to seven articles of clothing into a bag, so you could get two to three pairs of pants, two to three shirts, anything.”

There’s no income test to receive the clothing.

“Dillard’s donated them to K.I.D.S. as a way to get the clothing out because we know military families deal with a lot of stress, and Operation Homefront has been working with the 4th MEB here on post to get items distributed to soldiers,” Thomsen said. “They said, ‘We have these clothes, how can you help us get them to military families?’ and this is what we came up with.”

Hudgell said the USO will also be collecting food from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. today in a food drive at the commissary.

“It’s a great way if you don’t usually come to the USO to support us; we’ll have our wish list up there of individually wrapped snacks and stuff that we usually serve to the soldiers when they come to the USO,” Hudgell said.

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