LOS ANGELES (NNS) -- Sailors from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) volunteered their time and effort during a community relations project at the St. Francis Center in Los Angeles as a part of L.A. Navy Week 2011.
Sailors helped stock, sort and distribute groceries. They also helped accomplish administrative tasks, including sealing and stamping envelopes for St. Francis packets.
The St. Francis Center is a community service center that provides a number of services for homeless, near homeless and low-income families and individuals, including free meals, and free medical and dental clinics once a month. The center also offers free groceries to eligible families, after school tutoring for children in need and hygienic facilities for the homeless.
"We serve 3,600 meals a month to the homeless," said retired Navy Capt. Bill Griggs, a member of the board of directors for the St. Francis Center. "We also provide 50 pounds of groceries to 1,200 families every month."
Despite these impressive numbers, St. Francis Center executive director Jill Remelski said that providing these services is becoming more and more challenging.
"With the economy on a down-turn, we're receiving less and less resources," said Remelski.
Griggs said he believes this experience will prove as beneficial to the Sailors as it did for the needy civilians.
"It's important for the Sailors to experience different things," said Griggs. "They need to know that there's a whole other side to the world, even here at home."
Electronics Technician 3rd Class Michele Diazmoss also believes that it is important for Sailors to recognize this "other side to the world."
"Coming out here makes me remember that we don't really have it that bad," said Diazmoss. "Some people have it a lot worse."
Remelski, said it was pleasure to have the Navy lend a helping hand.
"It's so nice to know that the people who serve our country can take the time to help us here at home," said Remelski.
Navy Week is an opportunity for officers and crew of visiting ships to help the Navy showcase the quality of its personnel to local citizens. Lincoln's participation in L.A. Navy Week 2011 will demonstrate to area leaders and the general public that the Navy remains an effective and vital tool of national defense, and a viable career opportunity for young men and women.
The Navy conducts approximately 20 Navy Weeks each year, reaching out to communities across the country to showcase for Americans the investments they have made toward their national defense.
Participating in L.A. Navy Week 2011 are USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90), Carrier Air Wing 2, and personnel from Carrier Strike Group 9, Maritime Expeditionary Security Group 31, Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 3 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 1.
The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is in Los Angeles between at-sea training and certification periods ahead of a deployment scheduled for the end of the year.
For more information and a schedule of L.A. Navy Week 2011 events, visit www.navyweek.org/losangeles2011.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.