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Anchorage family organizes GracePacks for women in need

Emma and Abianne Kirschner stand with their GracePacks sign with the packs they are donating to...
Emma and Abianne Kirschner stand with their GracePacks sign with the packs they are donating to women in need.(Khristina Kirschner)
Published: Dec. 23, 2020 at 1:58 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - After returning to Anchorage this year, Khristina Kirschner said she noticed a change in the social climate — more people seemed to be out on the streets. It was a sight she wanted to do something about and get her girls involved.

“As a mom, I wanted to capture this moment, to help the girls identify real need and to be intentional about addressing it. I want them to feel empowered to help, rather than ignore what they see because they don’t know how to address it,” Kirschner said.

Kirschner, along with her daughters, Emma and Abianne, 7th and 5th graders at Grace Christian School, organized a drive for donations of toiletry-filled backpacks for women at the Downtown Soup Kitchen Hope Center. Their goal was to fill 20 backpacks, but in the end, they collected close to 50 packs. Kirschner says the backpacks were filled with sanitary and hygiene items, as well as one “wow” item.

“We found that kids and parents enjoyed the opportunity to ‘fill the bags’ and my children have been amazed at the thoughtful things that people include, such as brushes, slippers, journals, lip balms, nail polish, candy and encouraging notes,” says Kirschner. “The kids were amazed at the cost of backpacks and hygiene items.”

GracePacks include toiletries and hygiene items for women in need.
GracePacks include toiletries and hygiene items for women in need.(Khristina Kirschner)

Kirschner says the idea for GracePacks came from a similar project that her family worked on in Australia, called “Share the Dignity.” This project started by recognizing women’s unique monthly hygiene requirements and focused in on filling that gap.

“We are constantly amazed by our generous community,” Kirschner says, “This project really is an opportunity to let people love their neighbor as themselves.”

Next month, the girls plan on partnering with ChangePoint Church to collect more items for GracePacks. Kirschner says they will continue to collect and donate the packs to various organizations around Anchorage for women in need.

Assembling GracePacks to donate to women in need.
Assembling GracePacks to donate to women in need.(Khristina Kirschner)

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