Soldiers unload donated goods for Fort Bliss families
Fort Bliss, Texas--Pfc. William Phillips, right, tosses a box of food to Pvt. John Hutzler as they work to unload a truck filled with 10,300 pounds of food collected at Sierra Providence East Medical Center and donated to the Fort Bliss Junior Enlisted Family Center as part of Operation Open Arms. The food is distributed to junior-enlisted Soldiers and their families during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons.

FORT BLISS, Texas--More than 10,300 pounds of canned goods and non-perishable items were delivered in a Stagecoach Cartage and Distribution trailer to the Armed Services YMCA on Fort Bliss.

"It is overwhelming the amount of items donated for a first time initiative," said Jose Melendez, ASYMCA executive director. "It truly is a grand scale operation made possible by all of the community partners from SPHN, Stagecoach, Cielo Vista Church and Las Tierras Neighborhood Association. We had two major last minute donations from speech students at El Paso Community College and El Paso Chile Company. Those donations coupled with the response from the citizens of El Paso will make this a happy Thanksgiving for our military families."

The provisions were part of the Sierra Providence Health Network Operation Open Arms kick off that began Oct. 23 at Sierra Providence East Medical Center.

Operation Open Arms was an SPHN initiative in support of its military neighbors at Fort Bliss. The 24-day food drive netted an assortment of canned goods and paper products that will help stock the food locker at the Armed Services YMCA. The food locker provides assistance to an estimated 80 military families each month. Last year the drive helped provide 1,021 Thanksgiving food baskets. This year's goal is to help 1,200 families.

The donations will benefit junior-enlisted military families. Baskets included mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, green beans and a turkey.

"The members of ASYMCA and [the] Junior Enlisted [Center] started a secondary voucher list in hopes to acquire more provisions for military families in need," said Beth Brown, Junior Enlisted office coordinator.

For every pound of food collected for this designated charity to assist families, the Tenet Healthcare Foundation's "Feed the Need Drive" will donate $1, up to a maximum of $5,000 annually.

Page last updated Mon December 1st, 2008 at 18:04