By Senior Airman Arielle Vasquez
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Schriever Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station volunteers prepared 40,000 meals during a Kids Against Hunger event April 11.
This marked the first time Schriever held a volunteer event of this kind.
The mission of KAH, a humanitarian food-aid organization incorporated in 1999, is to significantly reduce the number of hungry children in the United States and to feed starving children throughout the world.
Stephanie Thien, Peterson, Schriever, Cheyenne Mountain Spouse Club president, coordinated the event along with Stan Sack, KAH Colorado Springs satellite director.
When Thien became the PSC Spouses Club president last May, she said she wanted to change the direction of the spouses club to be a more philanthropy-driven organization.
“I was told this is the first time any of the military bases in Colorado Springs has participated in KAH,” she said. “Our mission as the spouses club is to do outreach projects and give back to the community that has continuously supported our military families here.”
Offutt Air Force Base active duty member and KAH volunteer, Tech. Sgt. William Robinson, brought pallets of food from Omaha and arrived at Schriever April 10. This was all packaged and sealed by volunteers the following day.
Sacks said the meals contain rice, soy, black beans and spices.
“KAH has about 50 satellites across the United States, run by volunteers,” said Sack. “All the food packaging goes through one of those satellites. We package food for local use as well as ship it around the world primarily to third world countries. A KAH meal-a -day can bring a child back from starvation within 60 to 90 days.”
Two hundred and fifty volunteers signed up to assemble the KAH meal packages between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Volunteers prepared 40,000 meals, which feed up to six people each.
“It was a very fun experience working with others toward this mission,” said 2nd Lt. Veronica Leddy, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron Operations Engineering chief. “I did this before in technical school in Ohio. When I saw the email with the sign-up sheet, I remembered my experience of doing this before and I wanted to do it again. It was only two hours of my time, yet we made thousands of meals and I would encourage others to come out and participate for future events.”
First Sergeants from all three bases delivered the food packages the following day to Ellicott and Peterson feeder schools as well as the Care and Share Food Banks.
“What is satisfying is making a difference in people’s lives who I don’t even know,” Sacks said. Mother Theresa said, ‘If you can’t feed one hundred people, feed one.’ All of the meals could be packaged by machines, but the beauty of it is that volunteers are doing hands-on work. I’ve already had people ask me when they can participate again after only working one hour.”
While the volunteer event lasted a few days, planning began in August 2016.
The Tierra Vista Housing Community provided the PSC Spouses Club with a $10,000 grant to coordinate the project.
Thien said she did not realize what a huge turnout it would be during the days of the actual event.
“At first I thought to myself ‘there’s no way we will get the number of volunteers we need,’ but to see so many people support this mission speaks volumes to me,” she said. “I’ve never seen so many people pull together for one mission. It’s humbling to know I’m a small part of this.”
The PSC Spouses Club is always organizing volunteer events and plan to coordinate another KAH event in the future.
Thien said the next events they are planning to conduct are a clothing drive and filling backpacks for military kids for the next school year.
“My favorite part about this process is seeing the pallets of food come in and making phone calls to schools to tell them we can fill their pantry,” Thien said. “It is such a blessing knowing we can help them out. We’re hoping to make this an on-going relationship with KAH.
“I would like to say thank you to the PSC board and all of the bases involved for allowing this to come to fruition,” she said.
For information on future events and scholarship programs offered by the PSC Spouses Club, visit the PSC Spouses Club Facebook page and pscspousesclub.org