Air Force District of Washington Airmen wrapped-up their third annual "Feds Feed Families" campaign with success Aug. 31, collecting 27,190 pounds of donated goods, and exceeding the original goal to collect 15,000 pounds of food, said Capt. Joseph M. Walters, program coordinator for AFDW's 2011 campaign.
"We quadrupled the amount raised last year, which was 7,000 pounds," said Walters. "We were very fortunate with the generosity of the base and support of the unit commanders to get the level of donations that we did. We want to keep the tradition up of doubling our goals each year."
Donations collected by AFDW Airmen within the National Capital Region were given to the Capital Area Food Bank, which serves more than 700 food pantries, soup kitchens, and other charitable organizations in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area.
"All units on the base helped out in some capacity," said Master Sgt. Shane Richardson, noncommissioned officer in charge of air field systems, 744th Communications Group, Joint Base Andrews, Md. "Whether it was through donating, or volunteering their time, to help support the cause."
Various activities were held on base to help the campaign, including car washes, a base pool party, sculpture contests and annual food drive in the Liberty Park Family Housing area.
There were approximately 1,100 bags distributed across Joint Base Andrews where servicemembers could donate non-perishable items, said Richardson. Among the contributors in the community, the Liberty Park Housing residents took the lead at gathering the most donations.
"We were wondering what we could do in the beginning to get the campaign energized and AFDW Commander Maj. Gen. [Darren] McDew was a big supporter of the cause," said Walters. "He got the ball rolling."
According to Walters, special thanks go to First Lt. Emily Allen, 11th Comptroller Squadron, who co-headed the campaign; Thomas Kearney, former AFDW Director of Staff,; Jim Scowden, AFDW, who was the single largest donor on base; Master Sgt. Shane Richardson, 744th Communication Group, who organized the Liberty Park food drive that brought in 2,200 lbs. of goods -- the single largest non-unit effort for the drive; Airman 1st Class Nila Curry, 744th Communication Group, who organized a base pool party featuring DJ Spydr where more than 200 attendees donated approximately 800 pounds of food.
This year's Feds Feed Families campaign featured logistic support that had not been emphasized as extensively in the previous years. The 11th Logistics Readiness Squadron was the "head and shoulders" for an operation, moving nearly 13 tons of food for the cause, said Walters.
"The significance of the military community contributing to is vital for any group or individual," said Walters. "The capital area has over 640,000 folks at risk of chronic hunger, and 200,000 of those folks are kids. This is where the Capital Area Food Bank comes in and helps them out. Not everyone's got a million bucks to spare. In fact, the economy is even tougher now than in past years. Help is needed."
For more information on the Feds Feed Families program, visit their website