FORT BRAGG, N.C. - "It was a Friday. She said her husband had lost his job and they didn't have any food. So I told them to go out to one of our mobile pantries that we have, and when they came out they had a little kid," said David Griffin, Food Bank Director, Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina, Fayetteville, N.C. "It was great to see the look on the kids face to have - what other people might take for granted - a can of food."
That’s why it is important to donate because hunger is a real problem for some families living in the Fayetteville area. In order to give back to the community, U.S. Army paratroopers from the 16th Military Police Brigade donated canned food to families in need during the holiday season, Nov. 15, 2012, Fort Bragg, N.C.
"This is a great opportunity for us to be involved and to give back to our community," said U.S. Army Col. Chad McRee, commander, 16th MP Bde. "Folks are really encouraged to donate canned goods because those are some of the things that are really needed down at Second Harvest."
By donating through Second Harvest, the paratroopers of 16th MP Bde. are able to help multiple communities and not just the immediate area, said U.S. Army Capt. Joe Tull, assistant training officer, 16th MP Bde.
"Right now, we're basically collecting nonperishable goods with a focus on the holidays," said Tull, native of Panama City, Fla. "We want to do this prior to the Thanksgiving Day holiday leading up to Christmas to ensure that they have adequate nonperishable items to donate to the community."
Along with airborne operations and helping the community, it is also good to emphasize the Army Value of selfless service.
"Many of these guys and gals have never done a community service project," said Tull. "So we wanted to provide an opportunity where they can donate to the local communities that support them. As an Army Value, selfless service is something that we sometimes rarely exercise. So we wanted to provide our Soldiers with an opportunity to do that."
They are amongst several other military organizations at Fort Bragg that donate.
"Military organizations help us to provide food to those who are at risk to hunger within our county area," said Griffin. "Being a former airman myself, it's been a outstanding experience working with the military organizations that come out and donate. It's great to know that you guys want to give back to your community, right here, where you serve."
This year, paratroopers of the 16th MP Bde. collectively donated 1,348 pounds of canned food.
"1,348 pounds is a great total and beat out a lot of our donations that have already come in," said Griffin. "It will provide 30 to 40 families with meals which will probably last them about a week or so."
The 16th MP Bde. will not stop with just donating during the holiday season. They strive to be more proactive within the community. “If we are successful, we hope to make this an annual event,” said Tull.