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Campaign aims to stock local food pantries

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Eglin volunteers are giving back to their community through the Feds Feed Families campaign, aimed at putting food on the table for local families in need.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the campaign helps food banks and pantries maintain a steady stock during the summer season, a time where the need for donations increases, but the amount traditionally given decreases. The campaign aims to bridge the gap with the assistance of federal agencies.

“We have more than 50 volunteers across Team Eglin supporting the cause,” said Master Sgt. Joshua Baxley, Feds Feed Families installation representative. “Everyone at some point in their life has had to ask for help – this gives us the opportunity to give back.”

Last year alone, the campaign brought in nearly 18 million pounds of items donated by federal employees nation-wide.

Items being collected include canned foods, condiments, baking goods and hygiene items such as diapers, deodorant, toilette paper, and shampoo to name a few. This year’s goal is to collect more than 8,000 pounds of those items.

Items are being collected through unit points of contact at locations throughout Eglin and its tenant units, to include common areas such as the Eglin Commissary and Fitness Center, according to Baxley.

“We have many people in our community, some of them veterans, who rely on the local food banks to get a meal,” said the 96th Maintenance Group quality assurance chief inspector. “It’s important we recognize the need for resources like these and support them in any way we can.”

As the deadline date approaches, organizers have gotten creative to increase donations. The Eglin Fire Department will host a “Stuff the Truck” fundraiser at the commissary Aug. 19 and 20 where patrons are challenged to fill a firetruck with as much donations as possible. Volunteers will also run a door-to-door campaign through base housing.

“We’ll be making it easier than ever to donate by providing bags to base housing residents for them to fill and leave out for a scheduled pickup,” said Baxley. “[This is] an opportunity to give back to the community – it strengthens the bond and support we get in return.”

The campaign runs through Aug. 31. Anyone wishing to make donations may contact their unit campaign volunteer for drop off locations or contact Baxley at 882-5319.

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