A community of giving helps brighten the holidays
1 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Staff with Fort Bragg’s Armed Services YMCA and the Exchange Services wait at the entrance to the North Post Commissary to accept turkey donations from the public as part of their annual Turkey Donation Event, Nov. 15. Multiple events across Fort Bragg brought the community together to ensure those who desired a pre-Thanksgiving meal or turkey received one in time for Thanksgiving. (U.S. Army photo by Jacqueline Hill, Fort Bragg Garrison Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Jacqueline Hill) VIEW ORIGINAL
A community of giving helps brighten the holidays
2 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A cooler full of turkeys donated by the community as a part of Fort Bragg’s Armed Services YMCA and the Exchange Services annual Turkey Donation Event sits at the entrance to the North Post Commissary, Nov. 15. Multiple events across Fort Bragg brought the community together to ensure those who desired a pre-Thanksgiving meal or turkey received one in time for Thanksgiving. (U.S. Army photo by Jacqueline Hill, Fort Bragg Garrison Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Jacqueline Hill) VIEW ORIGINAL
A community of giving helps brighten the holidays
3 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Volunteers with the religious support office assemble and distribute over 550 Thanksgiving meal bags outside the Main Post Chapel. The RSO partnered with the Fort Bragg commissaries for their Build-A-Meal Thanksgiving campaign to collect holiday meal bags for needy Families. (U.S. Army photo by Fort Bragg Religious Support Office) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
A community of giving helps brighten the holidays
4 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Volunteers with the religious support office assemble and distribute over 550 Thanksgiving meal bags outside the Main Post Chapel. The RSO partnered with the Fort Bragg commissaries for their Build-A-Meal Thanksgiving campaign to collect holiday meal bags for needy Families. (U.S. Army photo by Fort Bragg Religious Support Office) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Giving Thanks To Our Troops
5 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Manna Church and Two Brothers Catering teamed up to provide over 700 meals to service members at Fort Bragg, NC, Nov. 15, 2022. Manna church paid for the meals which Two Brothers Catering prepared. Members of the church helped pack and distribute the meals along with Col. John Wilcox, Fort Bragg Garrison Commander. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Cory Reese) (Photo Credit: Jason Ragucci) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Multiple events across Fort Bragg brought the community together to ensure those who desired a pre-Thanksgiving meal or turkey received one in time for Thanksgiving.

Organizations like Manna Church, the Armed Services YMCA, the Fort Bragg Commissary, and the Fort Bragg Exchange all pitched in at various times in November to offer the festive meal and trimmings.

Manna Church delivered pre-Thanksgiving meals to Soldiers for the Thanksgiving for our Troops event at Pike Field. And the ASYMCA received 41 turkeys donated by the community, enabling them to distribute approximately 175 turkeys and meals for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In addition to the Manna Church and ASYMCA event, the Religious Support Office partnered with the Fort Bragg commissaries for their Build-A-Meal Thanksgiving campaign to collect holiday meal bags for needy Families.

The commissaries provided three options for people to donate: a prepackaged bag of Thanksgiving food, a commissary gift card, or a combination of gift card and a food bag.

The community provided over 550 Build-A-Meal bags and $360 in gift cards and distributed them to 11 separate units attached to the XVII Airborne Corps.

These events and opportunities help bring the community together to show appreciation and support to the military Families in the area.

For people who do not have a lot of interaction with military Families, the need for these types of events may seem odd. However, Jeremy Hester, the director of the Fort Bragg ASYMCA, is quick to explain there are many lower enlisted Soldiers on Fort Bragg, many of whom have Families, and may not be as financially secure.

With food costs on the rise and military pay scales unable to keep up, there is an increase in those experiencing food insecurity, which became a hot topic earlier in the year.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told Soldiers struggling with the rising food costs to apply for food stamps. And while some Families have followed that advice, others have not and are leaning heavily on community programs like the Fort Bragg ASYMCA food pantry. Hester noted that the ASYMCA has been seeing a greater need for Families so far this year.

The ASYMCA, located on Fort Bragg, assists 62,500 active-duty service members, 76,486 Family members, and 94,939 retirees either stationed or living in Cumberland and the surrounding counties.

Individuals, including military Families E5 and below and veterans, are allowed to go to the food pantry once per month. Others seeking help must complete an emergency referral form and obtain a signature from their company commander, first sergeant or unit chaplain.

The food pantry is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday, Friday, and second Saturday, excluding holidays. The ASYMCA goal is to assist in building service members’ careers and strong Families by providing valuable programs and services.