NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors from amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) volunteered at the Foodbank of South Eastern Virginia March 10.
The foodbank is a service that feeds more than 330,000 individuals each year with food donated by major distributers, farmers, wholesalers, supermarkets and food drives. More than 3,300 people donate their time throughout the year.
"We completely rely on the public for their help. Over 90 percent of what we do is because of the volunteers, many of them being military," said Angel Caraballo, Foodbank Sorting Room supervisor.
In three hours, 11 motivated Kearsarge Sailors sorted through 15,000 pounds of perishable items, throwing away anything expired or opened. They also put together 108 food boxes that will be given away to the working poor, homeless, disabled and elderly.
"It is amazing what a small group of people can do in just a few hours when they truly have the will to help," said Caraballo. "Thanks to Kearsarge volunteers, we will be able to supply 108 families with a box of groceries, and thousands of pounds of food for soup kitchens in the Hampton Roads area."
Chief Yeoman Gaelakeyshia Porter was honored to participate.
"As a mother, I feel very fortunate that my children always had a packed lunch or lunch money if they needed it. There are many children who come from low-income families who don't have the opportunity for a balanced diet, and the Foodbank has programs to put food on their tables and in their backpacks," said Porter. "It's very easy to get wrapped up in the convenience of everyday life and take things for granted that we're very fortunate to have. This experience has put a lot of things in perspective for me, and I look forward to going back and helping out in any way I can."
Kearsarge has plans for more volunteer opportunities with the Foodbank in the near future, and will kick off a program with the Norfolk Animal Care Center next month.
For more news from USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd3/.