(Via Ho’okele News)
Story and photo by SrA Christopher Stoltz
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Affairs
The ‘Feds Feed Families’ program has wrapped up its two-month campaign throughout the islands of Hawaii.
Feds Feed Families is a charitable campaign led by the United States Department of Agriculture that collects canned goods and nonperishable food items for those in need. The campaign began in June and ran through the end of August.
Since the campaign began in 2009, military service members and federal workers have donated and collected 24.1 million pounds of food and other non-perishable items to support families across America. Nearly 9 million pounds of food were collected in 2014 alone.
Navy Chief Religious Program Specialist (SW/AW) Kimberly Bell was the coordinator for Feds Feed Families at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and said military bases stationed throughout the islands of Hawaii donated approximately 30,000 pounds.
“We are very fortunate,” she said. “I am, along with many other servicemembers, are lucky enough to have a steady income. However, who am I to not share what I can and help those less fortunate than me? I would hope that if I were in the same situation as some of these individuals, there would be people willing to do the same thing.”
Bell said one of the main goals of the program was to help struggling people and families in the local community. Hawaii has more than 6,000 homeless individuals, according to a 2013 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development study.
“We didn’t want to just donate and provide to service members,” she said. “A Sailor, Airman, Marine, Soldier or Coast Guardsman usually have plenty of options and plenty of people looking out for them. There are various assistance programs within the military to help a service member out. In the civilian world, unfortunately, it is not the same scenario. Many people go to bed every night with their stomachs growling, and you see it here a lot in Hawaii.”
Although this is not a permanent solution to the issues of homelessness and hunger, Bell said she hopes the program will leave a few more stomachs full and a few more people happy.
Although the Feds Feed Families campaign is over, the Hawaii Food Bank accepts donations all year. For more information, visit http://www.hawaiifoodbank.org. The campaign is slated to return next year in June.