Natick Soldier Systems Center weighs in against hunger
September 13, 2012
NATICK, Mass. -- Soldiers and civilians from the Natick Soldier Systems Center weighed in against hunger recently by donating 711 pounds of non-perishable food items to local charities as part of the "Feds Feed Families" program.
Feds Feed Families is a government-wide effort led by the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, in partnership with the Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Heather E. A. Leiby, division chief of Army Community Services at NSSC, delivered the donations to A Place To Turn and the Natick Service Council, two food pantries here that serve a combined 450 families a month.
Joanne Barry, A Place To Turn's executive director, was happy to receive the food from NSSC.
"Our food pantry is busy, serving 250 families each month," Barry said. "As more and more of our neighbors seek assistance, we rely more heavily on our caring community for support.
"The 'Feds Feed Families' food donations will help ensure that we turn no one away who needs our help, especially during the busy fall months."
To illustrate her program's impact, Barry related a story told by a former client at A Place To Turn's recent volunteer appreciation dinner.
"Following her divorce, her situation changed from comfortably living in Wellesley to requiring the emergency assistance of A Place To Turn," Barry said. "Not only was she thankful to have a place to turn, she spoke movingly about the volunteers and staff here who treated her with dignity and respect, something she had not experienced elsewhere.
"Our volunteers were so touched to hear that their kindness and caring, along with much needed food assistance thanks to donors like Natick Army Labs, … impacted her in such a profound way."
Patty Shaffer, director of food pantry and volunteers at the Natick Service Council, which provides food for about 200 families per month, also expressed thanks to NSSC.
"We were so excited to receive such a generous donation from the Army community," Shaffer said. "This year we received 350 pounds of non-perishable foods for our Food Pantry.
"The summer months completely wipe us out as demand for food increases and supply decreases. The timing of the Army donation was perfect and will allow us to replenish the shelves with nutritious and filling foods. We are so grateful to the NSSC for their support and donation."
This year's NSSC collection effort surpassed the 2011 campaign by 264 pounds, or 59 percent. Leiby hopes to do even better in 2013.
"Both (pantries) were very pleased with what was donated to them," Leiby said. "We look forward to next year's drive, where we hope to increase our totals yet again."