U.S. Honor Guard helps in fight to solve hunger

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys
  • 11th Wing Public Affairs
The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, in partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank, began collecting food Oct. 20, in an effort to bring attention to the hunger that affects many in the National Capital Region.

The food bank serves nearly 500,000 people in the region struggling with hunger and distributes 45-million pounds of food, equivalent to 37.5-million meals, annually. The Capital Area Food Bank also aims to educate, empower and enlighten the community about the issues of hunger and nutrition.

"We're excited that the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard has been working with us for the past two years," said Maria Booker, Capital Area Food Bank Northern Virginia partnerships manager. "When they put on the military uniform every day and still volunteer after hours by putting together a food drive like this it makes a big impact on the community."

Already, more than 600 bags of non-perishable Thanksgiving food items, valued at more than $5,400, have been donated by personnel at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and Joint Base Andrews.

To further aid in the cause, the U.S. Navy Honor Guard joined in the effort.  Nov. 8, 30 ceremonial guardsmen from both military branches assembled 750 bags of donated food.

"It makes me proud to see 12, junior sailors committed to their jobs during the week and still make time to serve the community on the weekend," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Reuben Williams, Navy ceremonial guardsman.

The donation, estimated to feed up to 2800 people this Thanksgiving, was collected in preparation for the 5K "Hunger Awareness" Turkey Trot slated to take place at JBA, Nov. 20, at 7 a.m. in front of the west fitness center.

Run participants will have the opportunity to sign the donations and add a special message upon completion of the 5K.  Those donations will be hand delivered by honor guardsmen the following week.

"We are still looking for more donations, and the drive ends only two weeks from now," said Staff Sgt. Lawrence Rajab, USAF Honor Guard ceremonial guardsman and lead coordinator of the food drive. "Sunday, Nov. 16, is the final day of the drive but you can make last minute donations at the 5k. I hope to see continued support with the cause, as well as a strong turn out for the event. Every person will have a chance to exercise, gain insight on the struggle in the region, and contribute a personal inscription to a much needed and appreciated Thanksgiving meal."

Those looking to contribute by donating food can visit the commissary at both JBAB and JBA.

For volunteer opportunities with the Capital Area Food Bank, visit www.capitalareafoodbank.org.

(Michelle Kuzenko contributed to this story.)