WASHINGTON – Military, civilian and contractor personnel; their families and visitors at Joint Base-Anacostia Bolling are donating food to help feed the hungry in the National Capital Region.
Thousands of pounds of nonperishable food, hygiene items, paper products and household items have already been collected on the base, but the need to collect much more is high.
JBAB; its mission partners and residents are participating in the U.S. Government-wide Feds Feed Families food drive, spearheaded by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Now in its fourth year, the annual event helps fill a gap during the summer months when food banks and food pantries struggle with an increase in demand from families and individuals, but a decrease in donations exists.
The need is particularly pronounced in the community that JBAB is a part of. OPM Director John Berry said, “There is an increased need among children who are out of school and not benefiting from school lunch programs.”
Brenda Richardson, Deputy Chief of Staff for D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry, JBAB’s local councilmember, said, “Because of job loss and an increase in unemployment; a weakened economy; higher living costs and other issues, compounded by the recent storm-caused power outage, there is a dire need. Many people are still trying to recover from their losses.”
The increased need has more than tripled, according to the Capital Area Food Bank.
To help address the need, white CAFB boxes have been placed in a number of buildings throughout JBAB to accept the voluntarily given food and goods donated. Donated items are removed from the boxes and brought to the Food Bank throughout the food drive, which ends Aug. 31.
CAFB receives the collections and distributes it through their network of local food banks and food pantries that they partner with, according to Molly McGlinchy, a CAFB food resources coordinator.
Mission Partners step up to help out
JBAB mission partners have stepped up to help out. The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is holding a "One Can Day" event this month. “If everyone donated one can of food, we'd raise three tons of food,” exclaimed an excited food drive volunteer coordinator. In addition, a friendly competition among students at a "Great Leaders, Great Culture" training session in July, produced 1,535 pounds of food.
The Defense Commissary Agency makes it easy for its customers to donate to the cause. The store pre-packages nine pounds of food in bags, which sell for $8.75. Customers in a rush or looking for an convenient way to help feed the hungry simply purchase the special bags and deposit them in a shopping cart basket on their way out, explained Linda Elliott, store manager.
Air Force Master Sgt. Jeannie Washington of the 579th Medical Group reports that the command is enthusiastically participating in the effort. The 11th Operations Group has also placed collection boxes in their buildings, utilized by members of the Air Force Band and Honor Guard.
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) at JBAB placed boxes in the Exchange and in the Shoppette, both of which are frequented by hundreds of people, daily.
JBAB’s privatized housing partners have also enthusiastically joined the effort, with boxes located at both Lincoln Military Housing’s Bellevue Housing and Hunt Companies’ Bolling Housing (The Landings) Community Centers.
JBAB’s Religious Services department has placed boxes in both chapels and leads the collection of the donated items from the boxes around the base and its delivery to CAFB, Cmdr. Wesley Sloat, Navy chaplain, said.
Not too late to help or donate
JBAB commander, Navy Capt. Anthony T. Calandra, remarked that it is not too late to donate food and other needed items. It is also not too late to request a collection box or volunteer to help collecting and delivering the items to the food bank.
“Canned fruit; vegetables and proteins, including fish, chicken, beans and peanut butter; grains and cereals; soups, snacks and condiments; juice, paper products and hygiene items are most needed,” Calandra said.
For more information, to volunteer or to request a collection box, email: firstname.lastname@example.org