FORT BENNING, Ga., (Nov. 20, 2013) -- Around 85,000 people in 14 counties in and surrounding the Chattahoochee Valley don't have enough to eat, according to Feeding the Valley. The U.S. Department of Agriculture calls this a "food insecurity," which is when a household might not be able to acquire enough food for all members of the household due to insufficient funds or other resources for food.

But through volunteering and donations at local food pantries, there are many who have done plenty to help Families, said Sandra Ashford, director of the Battle Buddy Resource Center, which is part of the chaplain's program Operation Helping Hand Ministry.

Fort Benning's center has helped 32 military Families, according to the center's Facebook page at

The center recently teamed up with Feeding the Valley to help further their success, Ashford said.
She credited David Shemwell, operations administrator at Feeding the Valley, for mentoring the center's volunteers.

But Fort Benning has also lent a hand to Feeding the Valley, Shemwell said. Recently, 20 Soldiers helped to pack and load boxes for Feeding the Valley's mobile pantry.

Fort Benning chapel congregations also collected designated offerings in worship services for Feeding the Valley, said Chaplain (Lt. Col) Michael Reeves, the Fort Benning deputy garrison chaplain for Religious Support.

"We are very thankful for all of the volunteers at Fort Benning who help us feed people," he said.
Volunteers dedicate a lot of time and energy without wanting to get paid, Ashford said.

"Volunteering can change communities, can change lives, can change the world. And I have never seen volunteers this dedicated -- it's amazing," Ashford said about all volunteers.

Shemwell said through several programs at Feeding the Valley, and with the help of volunteers, this organization can live up to its mission of reaching out to as many people who need assistance.

Those needing assistance from the Battle Buddy Resource Center, should contact their unit chaplain, Reeves said.

"The unit is going to understand the Soldier and the Family's situation, so we don't want to overlook the problem … where they need food," Reeves said. "We want to tie them in with resources and counseling to give them the support to make it on their own."

Those who need assistance can get help once a month from the center, Ashford said. Help is available to those who have a military ID, including retirees. The center is open from 10 a.m. to noon and 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

If you are interested in helping or for more information, contact Ashford by calling 706-580-3452 or emailing her at Like the Battle Buddy Resource Center's Facebook page at

For more information about Feeding the Valley and how to help, visit

Page last updated Wed November 20th, 2013 at 16:10