Over 1,000 families helped during free ‘Clothing Extravaganza’ event

  • Published
  • By Clayton Cummins

Traffic was backed up as far as the eye could see for a unique ‘Clothing Extravaganza’ drive-thru style event organized by Tinker Air Force Bases’ Military and Family Readiness Center May 31, 2024.

Beginning at 11 a.m., military and civilian members were invited to pick up a free bag of name brand, all size and gender clothing items outside the M&FRC.

Over 7,500 clothing items including shirts, shorts, pants, hats, and shoes were donated to the Tinker AFB Chapel by the Army & Air Force Exchange Service. Members of the chapel reached out to the M&FRC for assistance with distribution.

Master Sgt. Bradley Ford, Tinker AFB’s Military and Family Readiness Superintendent, says 60 volunteers from the B-52 System Program Office Sustainment Branch assisted in sorting the donated clothes by size and gender.

“To get through 7,500 clothing items, that took us approximately an hour,” said Ford. “At that point we geared up for distribution the same day.”

Organizers had an idea the event would be popular but didn’t realize just how popular it would be. A line of vehicles began to form an hour before distribution began. At its peak, the line spanned nearly a half-a-mile down Arnold Street.

To help alleviate traffic, distribution began early and only lasted two hours before every clothing item had been donated.

In all, 1,413 bags of clothes were distributed to families at the event.

“I enjoyed handing people a bag of clothes and people saying, ‘hey, thank you so much,’” said Ford. “Every family has a story. They could be on the edge of whatever, perhaps the worst day of their life, but they came, they got a bag of free clothes and hopefully they felt that there is some hope here. We hope the clothes went to where they needed to be.”

Beyond the clothing extravaganza event, another resource to be aware of is the Airman’s Attic.

The facility, located behind the Tinker M&FRC at building 6001, is run by volunteers and stocks items military members want to pass on. The Attic offers a great opportunity for the base community as well as the off-base community to support Airmen who are in need of a few household items.

Airmen, E5 and below including their dependents, can shop at Airman’s Attic Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shopping is also available on Wednesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Limits for shopping are one bag and one large item per month.

“Someone pulled me aside and told me that the Airman’s Attic really saved them,” said Ford. “They told me they were strapped; they didn’t know how they were going to make it for their upcoming child’s birthday. They were able to stop by the Airman’s Attic for some lightly used toys so their child could have gifts for their birthday.”

If you have household items, clothes and toys for children that you would like to donate to young Airmen and their families, you can donate them to Tinker AFB’s Airman’s Attic. Donations are accepted Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Attic accepts the following donations:

  • Dishes and glassware
  • Books and other media
  • Electronics
  • Clothing
  • Baby items
  • Military uniforms

For more information on Airman’s Attic, call the Tinker M&FRC at (405) 739-2747.