NMCB 74 Seabees Reach out to Community in Spain

Story Number: NNS110521-12Release Date: 5/21/2011 4:27:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan G. Wilber, Naval Station Rota Public Affairs

ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction (NMCB) 74 distributed food to two convents and one parish in Rota, Spain, May 11.

The food was collected through an earlier Seabee-led food drive.

During the three-week drive, nearly 3,000 pounds of food and hygiene products were donated by the Seabees, military members and civilians attached to Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota.

According to Manuel Alba, NAVSTA Rota community relations advisor, the drive was the most successful of any during his two-year tenure in the public affairs office.

Originally, the food drive was initiated to gather donations for one convent, Espiritu Santo, a private convent in El Puerto de Santa Maria. However, due to the unexpected amount of food donations, the Seabees were able to donate to two additional establishments - a parish in Puerto de Santa Maria, San Joaquin Parish, and San Vincente de Paul, a convent in Rota.

Each of the three organizations runs a program to feed the homeless, senior citizens, children and other less fortunate people in their cities.

Alba stated that not only will those in need be fed through the food pantries and soup kitchens directly donated to, but the food will most likely be distributed to other organizations with similar goals in order to feed as many people as possible.

Thirteen volunteers set up donation boxes in several locations on Camp Mitchell, the Seabee camp on NAVSTA Rota.

"The amount of participation and donations we received was really overwhelming. It was a lot more than we expected. I think that's really a testament to the big hearts of the people in the military," said Religious Programs Specialist 2nd Class Shaun-Michael VanAsselberg, NMCB 74 chaplain's office leading petty officer.

Rota's First Deputy Mayor, Mrs. Mari Angeles Sanchez Moreno, met with the Seabees at the San Vincente de Paul convent to show the city's appreciation.

"Everywhere we went and dropped off the food everyone was very appreciative. They had big smiles, and seemed very pleased and appreciative that someone who didn't have much in common with them would help their cause," said VanAsselberg.

Lt. Bowen Woodruff, NNCB 74 command chaplain, cited lent and a desire to give the Seabees an opportunity to help the people of their host country as a few of the reasons he initiated the food drive, and hopes that those most in need will receive it.

"My hope is that it will be for the greater glory of God, and that the hungriest and those who really need it, will get it, immediately and in the months to come," said Woodruff.

For the Seabees of NMCB 74 and all the men and women attached to NAVSTA Rota, the food drive was a huge success, for which all involved repeatedly expressed their sincere gratitude.

"I'd like to give them [those who donated] my sincere thanks for their generosity and the tremendous outpouring, and giving the Seabees a chance to deliver this food on their behalf. It was a community effort, spearheaded and led by the Seabees, but it was a base-wide effort," said Woodruff.

For more news from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmcb74/.

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