MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Sailors from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River anchored down at the American Legion in Jacksonville, N.C. to lend their helping hands during the Drive-Thru Food Bank event hosted by Onslow Community Outreach, July 11.
More than 200 vehicles lined up for the drive-thru, which started at 12:30 p.m. and ended around 3 p.m. The sailors who volunteered worked with OCO staff to load the cars of Jacksonville residents with free food supplies such as tomatoes, onions, squash, yogurt, bread, cakes, pies, hot dogs, salads and frozen meats.
"I've participated in this event for three years," said Lt. Cmdr. John Rozema, chaplain with Marine Aircraft Group 29 on Marine Corps Air Station New River. "I was looking for a volunteer project to plug into and I got a hold of Remy (Stitt) and she invited me out, and I've been doing it ever since. The community gives so much to us and they support us so much. This is a great project. For a couple of hours we impact about 350 families a month."
Stitt, the soup kitchen director with Onslow Community Outreach, has dedicated more than 11 years of service to helping the Onslow County Community.
All of the food handed out was provided by the Food Bank of Greenville. The drive-thru is open to all Jacksonville residents, who can register at the American Legion on the day of the event. Participants are asked to bring documentation that shows proof of residency. After registering, families can line-up and get their trunks filled with free food.
The families that lined-up for the event were civilian families as well as military. Many are dealing with financial problems, and some family members have jobs or careers but others members of the household may be having trouble finding or holding on to a job.
Evidence in reports recently released by the U.S. Labor Department showed that America's job crisis is worsening. With the drop in household incomes, families have begun to look for helpful resources, such as OCO's drive-thru food bank, to help lessen the money spent on meals.
The drive-thru in Jacksonville is scheduled on the second Monday of every month. There are also food banks held in other areas of Onslow County. Richlands hosts one on the first Monday, Sneads Ferry has one every third Monday and Swansboro holds theirs the fourth Monday of the month.
Stitt said they try to do all they can to help the community and how it is wonderful to have service members out there helping.
"Onslow (Community Outreach) is fantastic," said Rozema. "They do (holiday) projects where they not only feed people at the soup kitchen, but they'll deliver food supplies to about 500 families during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday."
For more information about Onslow Community Outreach events and programs visit www.onslowco.org or call 455-5733.