NCOs band together to assist local food bank
June 23, 2009
- NCOs take an idea and give back to their local community
- Year of the NCO inspires community outreach
SCHINNEN, Netherlands -- U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen noncommissioned officers volunteered part of their weekends in May to make possible a donation of $1,000 in food items to the Stichting Voedselbank Limburg Zuid (South Limburg Food Bank) June 19.
Soldiers and NCOs volunteered to work two-hour shifts at the base commissary to fill customer's bags with groceries and carry them to a customer's vehicle in exchange for voluntary contributions. The contributions were then used to purchase food items that could be accepted to support the South Limburg Food Bank.
"One person can do a little, and together we can do a lot," said Harrie Verweij, coordinator of the South Limburg Food Bank, who graciously accepted the donation from USAG Schinnen Soldiers.
Verweij gave the Soldiers a tour of the facility while Danny Janssen, an instructor and examiner for the USAG Schinnen Drivers Training Testing Station, helped translate from Dutch to English.
The Limburg Food Bank provides food, clothing and toys to persons and families "in transition from hard times to good times" Verweij said. The Dutch government screens persons to confirm their need. Approximately 450 families access the food bank now with approximately 300 others on a waiting list. Each family receives assistance for an average of three to six months.
Janssen helped explain how donations are collected, stocked and distributed. He explained how a great deal of respect is given to all who pass through the doors of the food bank and reinforced Verweij's appreciation for the donation made by USAG Schinnen's Soldiers.
"It hits home. The need for a little help can happen anywhere. I like how this food bank puts every donation to good use. I can tell by how they're set up that nothing is wasted. I'm impressed with the condition of the facility," said Sgt. Jameson K. Brown, USAG Schinnen supply sergeant.
Sgt. Tanika N. Johnson, Operations NCO for HHD, USAG Schinnen who also helped bag groceries and deliver the donation to the Limburg Food Bank said, "It's good to be able to give back to communities wherever we're stationed. We'd be doing this whether we were stationed here or back in the U.S."
"I had fun. I've had to use services like the Limburg Food Bank, so I know how important it is," said Sgt. Wayne E. Karbowski, an NCO assigned to USAG Schinnen who works at JFC Brunssum as a chaplain assistant.
NCOs are considered the "backbone" of the U.S. Army. They are a cadre of professionals who not only accomplish, but also lead much of the Army's day-to-day missions, whether deployed to hostile zones or stationed in peaceful garrison environments, like USAG Schinnen.
USAG Schinnen provides base operations support to approximately 6,000 U.S. Soldiers, civilians and family members assigned to international communities across northern Germany, the Netherlands and eastern Belgium. These services include Soldier and Family support programs, morale and welfare activities, logistics, transportation and other administrative support.
You can learn more about U.S. Army Schinnen NCOs at <a href="http://www.army.mil/-news/2009/03/01/17609-banner-year-for-usag-schinnen-ncos/" target="_blank">here</a>