By Pfc. Ashley M. ArmstrongJune 6, 2008
Soldiers from the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program at the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command implemented their will to give by volunteering to serve food, recently at the Next Step homeless shelter in Kaka'ako.
"It is a benefit just to give. You feel like you have changed someone's life and that's the real prize there, it's like winning a championship to me," Spc. Justin A. Scales, BOSS member, 94th AAMDC.
Soldiers from 94th AAMDC's BOSS program have accompanied Trinity Baptist Church four times this year to assist in serving food at the shelter. They also recently organized a clothing drive throughout the command and gave the donations to the shelter.
"Getting BOSS involved in volunteer activities shows the community that we are here for them not only on the front line but here at garrison," said Sgt. Ciji C. Evans, BOSS president, 94th AAMDC.
The soldiers got involved in feeding at the shelter through Evans who attends Trinity Baptist Church and volunteered BOSS to help serve food after the church announced that they needed additional volunteers to help serve.
"The church buys the food but usually doesn't have enough serves to serve, that's were BOSS comes in," said Evans.
The church has donated food to the shelter since June 2006, not long after it opened said Derick M. Johnson, church deacon. The Next Step Shelter is a temporary shelter located in an old warehouse. Volunteers from Hawaii Helping the Hungry Have Hope (H-5) run the shelter.
Approximately 40-50 out of 170 of the current residents are children said Keoki Kapanui IV, H-5 volunteer.
"It was shocking to me how many kids there are," said Scales. Even though serving food at the shelter can't end homelessness or world hunger it still has the potential to influence the lives of the residents there and those involved in serving.
"I choose to participate because even though it might not seem to me like I am doing that much, I can see in their faces that it means a lot to them," said Scales.
The food and service given to the shelter does not go unacknowledged and the appreciation can be interpreted as a gift in itself.
"The people at the shelter are so grateful. They come through the line and all you hear is, 'thank you, thank you, thank you'. When you go give to someone who is so appreciative, you leave there with a sense of pride," said Evans.