LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
Members from the Space and Missile Systems Center, their families and friends volunteered their time and manpower to support the Salvation Army Seimon Family & Youth Community Center in Los Angeles for the Feed LA event, Aug. 11. Approximately 80 SMC members were a part of more than 250 volunteers from non-profit organizations, local businesses as well as individuals who gave back to the community.
“The Salvation Army’s goal is to help people who are struggling,” said Mortimer Jones, executive director of the Salvation Army, Seimon Center. “What gets me up every day and work those long hours are events like this. Being able to see families come in today, who are trying to improve their lives, even temporarily, and to surround myself with volunteers who are willing to give-up their Saturdays. Many of our volunteers’ kids go back to school on Monday and they are here today; we can never take that for granted.”
The event lasted from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the line could be seen stretched around the corner of the center. SMC personnel and their fellow volunteers were able to help approximately 500 persons and their families. At the event, they handed out more than 100,000 lbs. of food, 1,200 backpacks filled with school supplies and 10,000 lbs. of clothing and 3,000 hot meals for families in need.
“This is our way to give back to the community and to give support,” said Airman First Class Vera Povetina, SMC Contracting Directorate. ”The people who come here are not at the best situation in their lives and if we can show that someone cares about them, it will hopefully give them hope to keep trying.”
Enlisted members and officers with their friends and families filled empty plastic bags and boxes with fresh produce and canned goods. Each person was assigned to an individual or a family to help them carry items, organize their belongings and provide directions throughout the event. There was a clothing station, food pantry station, fresh produce station, a hot lunch of spaghetti and also a shaved ice truck for the children to enjoy. Volunteers helped participants navigate each station to ensure they received all the resources available. The entire event brought an environment filled with appreciation, gratitude and a sense of togetherness amongst all involved.
“It’s touching for the volunteers; we get to see how lucky we are; it’s a humbling experience to get to meet and interact with the families and see how grateful they are to receive 3-weeks’ worth of groceries. I am so grateful for them [volunteers] and blessed to have the U. S. Air Force help us out,” said Nitesh Patel, Advisory Board member for Salvation Army South LA and Compton. “They’re already giving by serving our country and to see them give back to the community, it just shows what great role models we have.”
This is one of the biggest volunteer events that SMC has been a part of and many who attended were very proud of their efforts. SMC personnel who would like to volunteer can contact 310-653-1667 or 310-653-3467 to sign-up for the next volunteer opportunity.