BARRIGADA, Guam (NNS) -- Navy Family Readiness Groups (FRGs) across Guam participated in a donation drive benefiting Harvest House from March 15 to April 15.
In total, the participating unit FRGs donated a combined number of more than 8,000 items, which were brought to Harvest House Closet, a section of Harvest House that collects items and provides them to foster families who need them.
"It's such a joy to watch the faces of the foster children and their families when we are able to provide for their basic needs with supplies donated to Harvest House," said Lana Nutt, volunteer for Harvest House and spouse of a Commander Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 15 Sailor. "Without these essential items, families would be required to make purchases each time a new child enters their home, which can get quite expensive."
First place for the Harvest House donation drive was COMSUBRON 15's FRG, who donated more than 2,600 items to Harvest House Closet. Second place was USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) and third was USS Frank Cable (AS 40), donating approximately 1,800 and 1,300 items, respectively.
"COMSUBRON 15's FRG is a relatively new group, so it was great to have the Sailors and families assigned to us donate such a large number of items," said Marlo Busch, FRG President for COMSUBRON 15. "These items make a huge impact on the community of Guam, and I know the foster families and children with Harvest House will appreciate our efforts."
The Harvest House donation drive was the second of its kind on Guam. USS Topeka (SSN 754) organized the first FRG donation drive in 2016 for Guam Animals in Need (GAIN). USS Frank Cable (AS 40) donated the most items for the GAIN drive and selected Harvest House as the recipient for this year's event. Katie GrosJacques, Cable's FRG President, coordinated with the other unit FRGs to hold a friendly competition to encourage volunteering in the local community.
"We looked for a way [the FRGs] could give back to the community in a fun, friendly way," said GrosJacques. "Hosting a donation drive seemed like an excellent opportunity for us to get involved, plus it's a great help for those who need it."
Harvest House is a ministry for foster children and families on Guam which provides for their physical needs, spiritual encouragement and emotional support. They promote awareness by serving as a point of contact for community members and organizations interested in supporting the foster care system on Guam; recruiting foster families and supporting families; and connecting with foster moms every month in a support group. Harvest House Closet collects new and gently used items that are given directly to the foster children that need them. Since 2009, Harvest House has supported over 500 foster children, 100 foster families and two shelters through outreach programs.
"It's such a great help to the foster community of Guam to get this number of items from caring military families," said Nutt. "We received items from basic toiletries to clothing and even a couple of larger pieces of furniture, like a crib and dresser. These donations will do a lot of good for our families in need. We are so thankful for this group of people who chose to support the abused, abandoned and neglected children of Guam."
The purpose of an FRG is to prepare members for deployments and homecoming; provide family support during deployments; help families adjust to challenges and support one another in times of personal, unit or area crises; welcome and mentor members who are new to the Navy lifestyle; and coordinate social events and community service projects. FRGs are an integral part of a support service network that bundles key support services that provide coordinated support to service members and their families.
The local FRGs plan on hosting up to two donation drive competitions a year. The winner of each event will pick the following charity and have a small celebration hosted by the previous winner. Participating FRGs for the Harvest House Closet donation drive include COMSUBRON 15, Los Angeles-class attack submarines Topeka, USS Key West (SSN 722) and USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723), submarine tenders Land and Cable, and Coastal Riverine Group (CRG).
COMSUBRON 15 is located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor, Guam, and consists of four Los Angeles-class attack submarines. The squadron staff is responsible for providing training, material and personnel readiness support to these commands. Also based out of Naval Base Guam are submarine tenders USS Frank Cable (AS 40) and USS Emory S. Land (AS 39). The submarines and tenders are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.
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For more news from Commander, Submarine Squadron 15, visit www.navy.mil/local/subron15/.