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Service members battle hunger

By Bonney Bowman 6:16 PM August 25, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

Our nation’s heroes at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson are battling an enemy of a different kind.

Airmen, soldiers and their families at JBER are stepping up to help feed Alaskan families.

Master Sgt. Eric Bailey says shoppers on base really pitched in to donate food kits for the Feds Feed Families program.

“We did 75 bags on Friday evening, afternoon, and then we sold those out pretty quick,” Bailey said. “I think by 11 o’clock in the morning on Saturday we were out.”

He says the campaign at JBER is focusing on collecting staples like canned meat and vegetables, pasta and peanut butter.

“It’s just amazing how many kids have to feed themselves,” Bailey said. “So we asked for, and we put into the kits also, some of the easy open items like beef ravioli from Chef Boyardee or something like that.”

All the donated food will go to the Food Bank of Alaska.

Michael Miller, the food bank’s executive director, says he gets worried when he sees the shelves empty.

“When we don’t have the food, they don’t have the food, which means the families don’t get the food,” Miller said.

He says many partner agencies have seen up to a 50 percent jump in need this year, but having help from groups like the one at JBER makes a big difference in meeting that need.

“We put out the call for volunteers, we get all sorts of soldiers and airmen that show up,” Miller said. “We put out the call for food, we know JBER is going to produce a lot of food for us.”

The airmen are looking forward to the final food drive tally. They say they were hoping for a couple hundred pounds but think they could reach as many as 2500.

“The biggest thing was just seeing the warm hearts of all the customers at the commissary this weekend, all of the base populous that came out and supported,” Bailey said.

Residents on base can donate through Wednesday, Aug. 27, as part of the Feds Feed Families program. But the Alaska Food Bank accepts donations online and at its Anchorage warehouse on an ongoing basis.

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