USO, Giant Food team up for Supermarket Sweep on Belvoir
June 11, 2014
Fort Belvoir, Va. (June 12, 2014) - Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Susan Highsmith wanted to make sure she beat the long lines, so she was there bright and early at the USO Warehouse on Fort Belvoir for the Supermarket Sweep put on by the USO and Giant Food, June 4.
The Naval Reservist from Space and Naval War Systems Command 366, arrived more than two hours before the event's start and was the first in line among the crowd of several hundred servicemembers, spouses and Family members gathered to watch as Giant Food presented a check of $100,000 to the USO and 17,000 Snack Packs to be delivered to local military Families as part of an annual grocery giveaway.
The health-conscious Snack Packs, which included nutrition and pretzel bars, drink sticks, fruit snacks and a bottled water, were among the array of free groceries available to servicemembers and their Families by corporate sponsors grateful for the Soldiers' tremendous service to America and the sacrifices of their Families.
"Events like these are extremely important," Highsmith said. "It's so beneficial to military Families."
The event marked the fourth consecutive year that the USO has teamed up with Giant Food, the Landover, Md.-based supermarket chain, to show their deep appreciation for the many sacrifices by all servicemembers and their Families.
Giant's Military Appreciation Month in March proved a big hit, totaling $100,000 in contributions from customers for military Families across the Mid-Atlantic region. Customers were given the opportunity to purchase the Snack Packs for military members or make monetary donations at check-out. The Snack Packs will also be distributed at the USO sites at three major airports throughout the region, said Jaime Miller, Giant's manager for public and community relations.
Any help is welcome when you have four kids ranging from ages 23 to 12, said Sgt. 1st Class Joe Rivers, Warrior Transition Battalion.
"This helps a lot," said Rivers, a veteran of the war in Iraq. "It really helps to offset the costs of the Family grocery bill."
Danielle Samuelson, an Army wife, echoed similar sentiments as she patiently waited in the summer heat for additional supplies for herself, her husband and the Family's three small children.
"This is very big help," Samuelson said. "I don't work and we home-school our children, so we're always eating at home."
Among the roughly 10 volunteers helping the USO distribute the food was Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rodney Bobo, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, who dedicated his lunch time to helping his fellow servicemembers and their Families with their culinary needs.
"This is extremely important," Bobo said, "because everybody needs a little help."
That was just the idea, said Elaine Rogers, president and CEO of the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore.
"This is what the USO is all about -- that home away from home," she said. "This is why there is a USO. I'm so proud to be able to do projects like this with a great partner like Giant. It's overwhelming."