By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason Amadi, Naval District Washington Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Service members and civilians assigned to Naval District Washington (NDW) commands donated thousands of pounds of food to the Feds Feed Families campaign, as of Aug. 8.
Personnel attached to NDW commands began an organized donation period to the annual campaign June 1 and have since donated more than 7,000 pounds of non-perishable food and made monetary contributions. The official period for donations ends for NDW Aug. 31.
"It's been pretty good," said Lt. Andrew Francis, Feds Feed Families coordinator for NDW and command chaplain for Naval Support Activity Washington. "Last year we raised about 8,000 pounds. With about one month to go, we're on pace to not only meet the benchmark from last year, but exceed it."
NDW headquarters personnel have contributed to FFF alongside personnel from Joint Base Anacostia Boling, Naval Support Facilities Arlington, Naval Observatory, and Carderock, Naval Air Station Patuxent River and Naval Support Activities Washington, Bethesda, South Potomac, and Annapolis.
"This is the first one I've coordinated because I'm new to the NDW region," said Francis. "As a coordinator it's been my responsibility to make sure all the individual sites and installations have the materials they need. I just collected data from the year before to see if we could do better. It's really the influence of the different site managers that make this successful."
The commands are placing food into bins at their installations that are eventually transported to Capital Area Food Bank and distributed to those in need.
"I go out to the installations and collect the food," said Religious Program Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Sherfey, assigned to Naval Support Activity Washington. "A couple weeks ago we collected about 500-pounds of food. I'm definitely impressed with how much people are giving."
"It's amazing to help people who need it," said Sherfey. "When you turn it in, you're dropping the food off at the place that hungry people come to receive it so you can see the actual people you're helping out. It's definitely rewarding."
One of the ways NDW has been able to give so much is through competitive donation. Francis says he's happy to see NDW personnel demonstrate their enthusiasm for helping others.
"Here at NDW there's a competition between the second and third floor of the building where one floor is trying to give more than the other," said Francis. "One weekend the donation boxes were just overflowing. We get excited about a lot of things. We get excited about sports, cars and new clothes. But it's great to see a group of people excited about positively impacting others."
"We may not be aware of the situations that the military and civilian employees here at NDW may be going through, but we know we're not all walking around as multi-millionaires," said Francis. "Everyone here has needs of their own and I think being able to look beyond ourselves and still give is empowering; and of course there's the obvious impact on those who receive. Everyone at some point is going to go through some sort of downturn; if it isn't financial, then it could be emotional or physical. Being able to do what you can, while you can, is important."
For more information about the Feds Feed Families campaign visit their website at http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=feds-feed-families.
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