SANTA RITA, Guam (Sept. 1, 2021) – More than 20,000 pounds of food was distributed to the local soup kitchen and village mayors’ offices through the Feds Feed Families campaign coordinated by U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG).
This year marked the 12th annual government-wide Feds Feed Families (FFF) food drive, which encourages employees from all federal departments and agencies to give in-kind contributions -food, services, and time – to food banks and pantries. The campaign ran from June 1- Aug. 31 and highlighted a summer of giving, along with reminders to donate throughout the year. On NBG, Religious Program Specialist 1st Class Dimitry Givans led the Chaplain team’s effort to collect and distribute the food.
“It is humbling any time the chapel team is able to care for our neighbors in the community,” said Lt. Joseph Buck, NBG chaplain. “Feds Feed Families empowers people to think about those in need of help and to do something tangible to support them. This program raises awareness of our community’s needs and produces a mindfulness about the donors’ ability to help others.”
The donations included dry and non-perishable food and benefitted the Hågat, Inalåhan, Dededo, Sånta Rita-Sumai, and Malesso Mayors’ offices and Archdiocese of Agana, Ministry to the Homeless soup kitchen.
“Our team is overjoyed to be able to establish relationships with our community partners,” Buck said. “We hope these donations not only fill some empty stomachs but also remind our neighbors how much we appreciate them and care about their needs.”
Buck acknowledged the support of the Orote Commissary, tenant commands, and all donors who helped with the food drive. On NBG, Commissary patrons were able to purchase bags filled with food and donation drop-off boxes were made available at the Chapel.
“Our goal was to support communities we knew were in need, and we tried to maximize the impact on the quality of life of our neighbors here in Guam,” Buck said.
Since Feds Feed Families launched in 2009, the campaign has collected more than 99 million pounds of food for donation. In 2020 alone, federal employees donated more than 7 million pounds.
FEEDING THOSE IN NEED
One of the recipients of the local donations was the soup kitchen in Hagåtña. During the pandemic, the soup kitchen had to adjust their hours and some services, but continued to operate by providing to-go bags with canned goods to the homeless, according to Doris Royal, the organization’s program director.
“We offer services to people who are in need,” Royal said. “Although, we cater to our homeless brothers and sisters, and the less fortunate, we do not turn away anyone who is in need of a hot meal. No questions are asked if you are seeking our assistance.”
For the month of July, they handed out 767 bags of non-perishable food and fed more than 530 people in August. While the counts vary on a daily basis, on average, they feed 125-150 people per week.
The soup kitchen is able to provide these services through community support, Royal said.
“Every donation big or small will help to replenish our pantry and to continue assisting individuals or families,” Royal said.
Nearly 2,000 pounds of food was donated to the organization Aug. 31 through the Feds Feed Families program, including 245 pounds of food from U.S. Naval Hospital Guam.
“We feel, honored and grateful to be a recipient,” Royal said. “On behalf of the Archdiocese of Agana, Ministry to the Homeless, we extend our humble gratitude and appreciation to everyone who has contributed to this campaign – our active military, retirees, civilians, and veterans. We thank you for your service to our island.”
A substantial food donation through the campaign was also delivered to the Hågat Mayor’s Office, who in turn distributed them to their residents.
“Receiving these items and distributing to our residents who are in need of it, especially during these difficult times, is a very much needed show of faith in our community and working relationship,” Hågat Mayor Kevin Susuico said, acknowledging the recent donations. “These type of campaigns help us help our community by giving them a little nourishment and self-care to keep them going for as long as they can until they can get back on their feet. On behalf of the community of Hågat, we thank you for all your continued support.”