FORT KNOX, Ky. - Several 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldiers volunteered to prepare and serve food Monday, Nov. 23. at the Wayside Christian Mission in Louisville, Ky. as part of a community outreach program for the command.

Volunteering at the Wayside Christian Mission was just one of many ways the 3d ESC has sought to give back to a surrounding community that supported them during their 15-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Overall, the Sustainers helping at the mission were pleased with their work, and delighted by the appreciation of those in need.

"Helping at the Wayside Mission today was a completely new experience for me," said Spc. Jake McCroskey, an intelligence analyst with the 3d ESC and Bristol, Va., native. "I really enjoyed helping out here today and would do it again if the opportunity presented itself."

Founded in 1957, the Wayside Christian Mission is considered to be one of Louisville's main safety nets for those in need. The mission provides emergency shelter, stabilization, and permanent housing to the area's homeless. As a way of providing help, the mission operates a number of programs to help people with specific problems that contribute to homelessness.

"We take in individuals who need help and provide them all with a caseworker," said Kim Likins, the Wayside Christian Mission volunteer coordinator and Bedford, Ky., native. "Those that stay here have to be involved in one of programs, rather it be something like work therapy or drug and alcohol treatments. What we do here is teach people to be self-sufficient."

While at the Wayside Christian Mission, the 3d ESC Soldiers helped in the preparation and serving of lunch for clients staying there. By having several Veterans as clients, Likins explained that many enjoy having Soldiers around. She explained sharing war stories with Soldiers as being a big interest amongst clients.

"Although I'm a client here myself, I mostly help with serving everyone and having Soldiers here today was a big plus," said Kelvin Brown, a Wayside Christian Mission client and New Orleans, La., native. "We get a lot of donations and volunteers around here but having Soldiers here today was something special."

Likins, like many of the Wayside's clients, explained that if they had a choice, they would have Soldiers volunteer as much as possible. Many clients felt the need to express that they felt as if they should have been feeding the Soldiers, not the other way around.

"It's just something about the military that gets our clients going. The respect and admiration from our people at Wayside for those in the military is totally different than with anyone else," said Likins. "If the 3d ESC Soldiers could come every week and become an reoccurring event, it would be great."

Photos and story by Spc. Michael Behlin, 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) public affairs.
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