Vinson Sailors Help Restore Shelter Store

Story Number: NNS080418-03Release Date: 4/18/2008 10:31:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Maja Dyson, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Four USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Sailors helped restore hope for homeless children and families during a community relations (COMREL) project April 8, at the For Kids, Inc., shelter in Norfolk.

The project included the reorganization of clothes, household goods, computers, books, and other items in an effort to provide shelter-residents with a new store for their living needs.

"This was a great opportunity for the Sailors to gain experience in the day-to-day activities of our nonprofit organization," said Chanika Mills, the organization's volunteer coordinator. "By volunteering for the project, Sailors were exposed to ways in which shelter clients shop for their families' necessities, as compared to the everyday shopping of the non-homeless population."

Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class (AW/SW) Michael Edwards, Carl Vinson indoctrination division, said he enjoyed the experience.

"Volunteering for the COMREL was definitely an enlightening experience," said Edwards. "We gave back to the community and let families who don't have much know that we're here to help support them while they get back on their feet."

The organization, For Kids, Inc., was founded in December 1988 to provide families with housing and comprehensive services to foster permanent, positive family-development and lead clients to more self-sufficient futures. Its main goal is to help end the cycle of homelessness in the Hampton Roads area.

Mills said this effort could not be accomplished without the volunteer activities of helpful citizens and Sailors assigned to regional commands.

"We want every volunteer's generosity to shine through," said Mills. Whether their talent is with organizing items, a calculator, or a sales pitch, we can use their help."

Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 2nd Class (AW)Brandon Coffelt, Air Department's V-1 division noted the impact of their work.

"Families will soon be able to come and shop in an organized place, versus having to dig through numerous donations just scattered on the floor," said Coffelt. "I'm looking forward to coming back and helping with this project again in the future."

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