BALTIMORE (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the USS Maryland (SSBN 738) volunteered their time to sort and pack numerous boxes of food at the Maryland Food Bank during a community relation's event as part of the weeklong celebration, Star Spangled Spectacular.
The Maryland Food Bank is a nonprofit hunger-relief organization that partners with farms, manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, Feeding America and other sources to secure food for families in need.
"Our main charge is to get as much food out to hungry Marylanders that need it as quickly as possible," said Jill Rowlett, volunteer program manager at the Maryland Food Bank. "There are close to half a million food insecure people across the state that do not know where there next meal is coming from."
The Food Bank seeks volunteers from a variety of organizations to help sort and pack donated food.
"We are lucky enough to have a lot of different military organization in our area that volunteer," said Rowlett.
Rowlett appreciated the Navy volunteers from the USS Maryland and joked that she could always count on Sailors to be on time and work efficiently.
A conveyor belt filled with a seemingly endless supply of food turned continuously for more than three hours while the Sailors checked for dented cans and items not able to be donated.
Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Adam Spitz, stationed on the USS Maryland, was one of the Sailors who volunteered his time to help feed the hungry at the food bank.
"Being a cook and dealing with food, I love feeding people and seeing people happy," Spitz said. "Food is the key to everything because everyone needs to eat."
"We're always serving our country, that's what we do, but it's another thing to realize that these are the folks we're really here to help," said Cmdr. Geoffry Patterson, commanding officer of the USS Maryland (SSBN 738). "It's great to get my guys out here to help. It really kind of re-centers us."
Last year over 36 million pounds of food were distributed across Maryland and the Food Bank is on target to hit 44 million pounds this year.
The Star-Spangled Spectacular runs Sept. 10-16. This event celebrates the bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore, which provided the backdrop for Francis Scott Key's famous poem, "Defence of Fort McHenry," which later became America's national anthem. More than 30 ships from the U.S. and foreign nations, and the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels aircraft will be on display and open to the public.