FORT KNOX, Ky. — A small army of volunteers met at the warehouse of the Fort Knox commissary Nov. 13-14 to fill hundreds of paper sacks with food items.
The gathering marked the kickoff of Operation Thanksgiving, a food drive led by the American Red Cross and Fort Knox chaplains, and officials said the need is greater than years past.
“I did it in 2017 and ’18, and we had about 120 Families,” said Yvonne Plough, the lead for the American Red Cross Helping Hands and food pantry programs at Fort Knox. “This year, we have almost 300 Families.”
Plough said one reason for the larger numbers is the influx of military personnel to the post this year, including returning Soldiers from 1st Theater Sustainment Command and the introduction of V Corps to the installation. Another reason is because of COVID-19.
Chaplain (Maj.) Bryan Wright, community chaplain at Fort Knox, said last year’s number of Families in need was about 220.
The program is designed to help Soldiers E-5 and below with at least a spouse have a happy Thanksgiving holiday away from home, as well as those E-6 and above as the need arises. Wright said a unique aspect of the program here is that chaplains from each unit pick up their Soldiers’ sacks and deliver them. They picked up their respective sacks the morning of Nov. 16.
“We let them take them back to the units so that the chaplains and chaplain assistants can be the ones handing them out to the Families; that way they’ve got their handprint on it.”
Wright said he is happy just to be able to fill the bags with food: “It’s always a joy to be able to help the Families out at this time of year.”
Plough said she enjoys working with others to fill a need.
“I like volunteering here, and I know the food goes to those who need it,” said Plough. “The best part of this is the community that comes together each year to help the Soldiers. I’m thankful for them.”
Editor's Note: For more images on this effort, visit our official Fort Knox Flickr site HERE.