As part of this year's "Feds Feed Families" campaign, the Natick Soldier Systems Center provided hundreds of pounds of food and other needed items for two Natick food banks.

The NSSC community completed the campaign Aug. 31, providing 447 pounds of donated items divided between Natick Service Council and A Place to Turn.

"The outpouring of support from the Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC) community is awe-inspiring," said Kent D. Brickman, Army Community Service director at NSSC. "I have been amazed by the immense amount of support that was provided over the past few weeks."

Brickman thanked Natick Town Administrator Martha White for her assistance in the campaign.

"Martha was very helpful from the beginning of NSSC's efforts," Brickman said. "It was very important to us to share the collected items in a manner that was fair and equitable between the local food banks."

According to Brickman, military personnel and civilians contributed to the NSSC donations.

"I was very pleased with the success of the Feds Feed Families campaign, which makes me very proud of our community's willingness to assist others," Brickman said.

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. Though the NSSC campaign has ended, Brickman pointed out that the need continues.

"It is important to keep in mind that the local food banks -- and the families that the food banks serve -- will need food items throughout the year," Brickman said. "Hunger is not relegated to just one or two months a year, during a food campaign. I hope and believe that the community, at large, will continue strong support of our local food banks and the families that benefit from those programs."

The Natick Service Council, Inc., may be reached at (508) 655-1791 or on the web at A Place to Turn may be reached at (508) 655-8868 or on the web at

"We so appreciate the effort of Natick Labs in the Feds Feed Families campaign," said Joanne Barry, executive director of A Place to Turn. "The timing of the campaign and the food delivery by Kent was helpful, as we traditionally see a huge decrease in food donations at the end of the summer/early fall. These items will fill our shelves."

Barry said there is a significant current need for food assistance in Natick. She added that last year alone, 8,000 individuals came to her organization for help.

"This year we have seen so many families coming to us for assistance that have never needed to use a food pantry before -- many longtime residents who, through no fault of their own, just cannot make ends meet," Barry said. "We started to see increased need with the economic uncertainty, and now we see many neighbors who just need that little bit of help to make it through a rough time, whether it be illness or unemployment."

Patty Shaffer, food pantry and volunteer director for the Natick Service Council, agreed that the timing of the NSSC donation couldn't have been better.

"This year, Natick Labs participated in this food drive for the first time and donated more than 200 pounds of nonperishable foods and personal-care items," Shaffer said. "By the end of the summer, the shelves in the food pantry are pretty bare, and we are incredibly grateful to receive this generous donation.

"We would like to thank all those from the Natick Soldier Systems Center for their generosity."