THEODORE, Ala. (NNS) -- Members of Pre-Commissioning Unit Tripoli came together to support a local cause Oct. 19 in Theodore, Alabama, assembling boxes of food for Thanksgiving for Feeding the Gulf Coast.
For several hours, Sailors took time out of their work day to help ensure families in need would be fed during the Thanksgiving holiday.
"It was my first volunteer event with the command," said Yeoman Seaman Jay Outlaw, from Queens, New York. Outlaw said he went to the event to support the local community as well as being involved with his the command. "I've never really volunteered before, it was actually pretty fun," he added.
The volunteer event came about due to the initiative of Electronics Technician 1st Class Juan Galvan, the ship's Community Relations coordinator, who reached out to the Feeding the Gulf Coast organization. The volunteers gathered in a warehouse, not too far from where the future USS Tripoli (LHA 7) is being constructed at Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., and spent several hours sorting and packaging donated food.
"We had done some prior volunteer work at the pre-commissioning detachment in San Diego, so I decided to get ahold of a local food bank here, especially considering recent events with area hurricanes," said Galvan. "It was a good experience, a lot of comradery, and it was good to see a lot [of people] showed up, it was a good turnout," he added.
Twenty Sailors packed 166 boxes of food, feeding 664 people this Thanksgiving, and the volunteer crew from the ship was nearly the entire fledgling Pascagoula crew, including the ship's commanding officer, who got right in the mix, building boxes with the rest of the crew.
"Our Tripoli Sailors enjoy being part of the local community here on the Gulf Coast," said Capt. Kevin P. Meyers, PCU Tripoli commanding officer. "In that spirit, we all enjoyed spending time helping a great cause of feeding families in need for Thanksgiving. Feeding the Gulf Coast does a great job supporting local churches and food banks to help the less fortunate," he said.
Feeding the Gulf Coast provides food to meet the challenge of feeding people who are hungry as a result of personal crisis or disaster. They serve a 24-county area spanning south Alabama, south Mississippi and the panhandle of Florida.
The future USS Tripoli, an America-class amphibious assault ship will incorporate an enlarged hangar deck, enhanced maintenance facilities, increased fuel capacity and additional storerooms to provide the fleet with a platform optimized for aviation capabilities.
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