BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- This holiday season, the men and woman stationed aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) are reaching out to serve their community through various holiday-themed service projects in the local area.
One of the key community service projects Vinson Sailors participated in this holiday season was the Kitsap County Resources' (KCR) Christmas Angel Program, which provides gifts to more than 3,000 children of low-income Kitsap County families.
The Christmas Angel Program takes flight with the support of members of the local Kitsap County community. Donations of toys and clothing come from various local businesses, labor groups, civic organizations, churches and military organizations.
Nearly 50 volunteers from Carl Vinson's supply department gave their time and skills to assist with the program this year. For many of the Vinson volunteers, who handle the ship's vast supply inventory, unloading and cataloging the thousands of gifts came as second nature.
"It's important for us as Sailors to connect in a positive way with the community that we live in," said Lt. Cmdr. Dave Nystrom, Carl Vinson's assistant supply officer and the ship's coordinator for the Christmas Angel Program. "Getting involved and making a difference helps instill a sense of community.
Manpower for the program was provided by KCR employees and various volunteers. "It's all about the volunteers - without them we couldn't get this done," said Pamela Varner, KCR program coordinator.
"This is Carl Vinson's first year involved, and we love them," said Varner. "The work that they completed in one day normally takes us four or five days to do."
Aside from organizing and helping distribute the gifts, many of the Sailors had the chance to interact and play with the children they were helping.
"I love to see smiling kids' faces," said Ship's Serviceman 3rd Class Kirsten Davis, who donned a Santa suit and handed out wrestling dolls and stuffed animals to all of the children at the event. "This is definitely a new experience for me, but it is a lot of fun being Santa for the day."
Along with the Christmas Angel Program, other groups of Carl Vinson Sailors spent the holiday season spreading good will to the local Puget Sound area.
Various Carl Vinson clubs and organizations supported several toy and food drives. Dec. 23, a number of Vinson Sailors donned their dress uniforms and visited Seattle's Children's Hospital with a truckload of toys donated by the ship's spouses clubs.
"It's important for the ship and all of the Sailors in the area to try their best to let everyone in the area know that we are here to help, especially during the holidays." said Storekeeper 1st Class (SW/AW) Lester Wright.
For related news, visit the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70.