GULFPORT, Miss. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 donated 10 large boxes of food items to the Seabee Pantry aboard Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport this holiday season.
NMCB-11 Chaplain Lt. Brian E. Myers, from New London, Ohio, initiated the drive.
"After Thanksgiving, I noticed that the Seabee Pantry's supply had run low, and with the major holidays approaching, I knew something needed to be done," said Myers. "There was no doubt in my mind that the men and women of NMCB-11 would rise to the occasion and donate for a worthy cause."
Myers, with the help of Builder Constructionman Timothy C. Rogers, originally from Bohemia, N.Y., also assigned to NMCB-11, distributed donation boxes to all of the companies and departments throughout the battalion and encouraged everyone to donate non-perishable food items.
Within the first two weeks of December, the battalion had accumulated about 500 pounds of donations including items such as canned foods, boxes of cereal, condiments, snack foods, and many other food items.
Located in NCBC's Base Chapel, the Seabee Pantry provides help to military members and their dependants to include active duty, Reservists, and retirees.
One NMCB-11 Seabee, who has utilized the Seabee Pantry, Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Jason M. Montgomery, is thankful that it has been available to him and his family of six.
"It has helped us through tough financial times on more than one occasion," stated the Lisbon, an Iowa native. "I strongly recommend it to newly married junior troops and anyone struggling financially. There is no shame in getting help when you need it."
The Seabee Pantry is dependent on donations like those from NMCB-11 to continue to provide food to service members, retirees and dependants. Individuals, organizations, and other groups are encouraged to donate as well.
"I was surprised myself how many people weren't aware of this," said Religious Program Specialist 3rd Class Jamie C. Hamm, originally from Baltimore, Md., and assigned to NCBC since June 2011.
According to Hamm, the Seabee Pantry receives three or more patrons daily, and that number is expected to increase into the New Year as budgets become stretched thin due to holiday travel and gift purchases.
The Seabee Pantry is open for patrons as well as donations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call (228) 871-2454 for details.
NMCB-11 is currently in the midst of a homeport cycle following an eight-month deployment to Afghanistan and is preparing for its next deployment, set to begin near the end of the summer next year.
For more news from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmcb11/.