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A local villager holds a box of clothes donated by Misawa Air Base, Japan, residents for children in Afghanistan. Tech. Sgt. Shoshannah Cobb, deployed to Afghanistan from Misawa Air Base, Japan, helped re-start a clothing drive for local villagers during her deployment. So far Misawa residents have sent more than 30 boxes of clothes and other items.

A local villager holds a box of clothes donated by Misawa Air Base, Japan, residents for children in Afghanistan. Tech. Sgt. Shoshannah Cobb, deployed to Afghanistan from Misawa Air Base, Japan, helped re-start a clothing drive for local villagers during her deployment. So far Misawa residents have sent more than 30 boxes of clothes and other items. (Courtesy of Shoshannah Cobb)

A local villager holds a box of clothes donated by Misawa Air Base, Japan, residents for children in Afghanistan. Tech. Sgt. Shoshannah Cobb, deployed to Afghanistan from Misawa Air Base, Japan, helped re-start a clothing drive for local villagers during her deployment. So far Misawa residents have sent more than 30 boxes of clothes and other items.

A local villager holds a box of clothes donated by Misawa Air Base, Japan, residents for children in Afghanistan. Tech. Sgt. Shoshannah Cobb, deployed to Afghanistan from Misawa Air Base, Japan, helped re-start a clothing drive for local villagers during her deployment. So far Misawa residents have sent more than 30 boxes of clothes and other items. (Courtesy of Shoshannah Cobb)

These children are among the locals outside Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, receiving donated clothes and other items.

These children are among the locals outside Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, receiving donated clothes and other items. (Courtesy of Shoshannah Cobb)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — A chaplain’s assistant from Misawa Air Base is delivering a bit of goodwill to poor Afghans with help from Misawa residents in northern Japan.

Tech. Sgt. Shoshannah Cobb, the noncommissioned officer in charge of chapel operations at Misawa, has been deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, since May.

Struck by the severe poverty of local villagers, Cobb relaunched a clothing drive started by a previous deployed chaplain that had since fallen off.

Through the base chapel at Misawa, Cobb passed the word, calling for donations of clothing for children and adults.

And the boxes are starting to pour in.

“We’ve already sent over 30 boxes, each about 30 to 50 pounds,” said Staff Sgt. Theresa Newell of the 35th Fighter Wing Chapel Staff.

Military spouse Jennifer Ebner volunteered to help box up and mail the clothes. Her daughters, Corinne and Lizzie, pitch in, but Ebner said due to the volume of donations — both from base residents and the Thrift Store — more help is needed.

“We threw in some lollipops and some toys, but I think mostly they want clothes, toothpaste, toothbrushes and other toiletries,” she said.

Cobb said what’s needed most are winter clothes and shoes.

“The winters can get very severe and the people here are very poor and living conditions are austere. Shoes are desperately needed,” she wrote in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

The children, Cobb wrote, are “always happy to see us arrive. We are bombarded by small children, they practically pull your gear off of you trying to get at the items we’ve brought. We basically have to throw the clothing and toys we received from on top of the Humvee so as not to get trampled.”

Cobb said donations are needed through mid-August. Items can be dropped off at the base chapel at Misawa.

author picture
Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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