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Langley donates more than 3,000 pounds to a local food bank

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. – In a deployed location, many Service members witness the atrocities of war first-hand. Many have seen the suffering of a woman in need of basic supplies, like food and water, to sustain her children.
For one airman and his team at Langley Air Force Base, Va., reducing the suffering from starvation became his priority.
Tech. Sgt. Shaun Chaplin, 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing command chief executive, volunteered to spearhead the 3rd annual Feds Feed Families food drive in order to give back to the community.
“This is something close to home,” said Chaplin. “It was a pleasure to help the community.”
Chaplin gathered representatives from the units around Langley AFB; himself acting as the representative for the 480th ISR Wing, and as the final collector for the donations.
These donations, along with all other donations from across the nation, are sent to local, community food banks. According to www.fedsfeedfamilies.gov, food banks around the country face severe shortages of non-perishable items prior to the beginning of summer because children are left without school nutrition programs.
The program gives its leaders three months to gather donations before they are turned in to the local food bank.
Due to a miscommunication, Chaplin and his team were only allotted one month before the mandated deadline. With all the work ahead of them, Chaplin said his team quickly established a connection with other units to get the ball rolling.
“We had little, to no previous experience with the food drive,” said Chaplin. “After finding out that we only had a month, we came up with a goal and hit the ground running.”
Chaplin and his team set a 3,000-pound goal for the year without knowing precisely what should be expected. Unknown to them, Langley gathered 1,210 pounds of goods last year for the food drive. Chaplin and his team more than doubled last year’s efforts, and gathered 3,167 pounds, even with their shortened time frame.
Chaplin was more than happy with the result, and he hopes to continue working with the Feds Feed Families initiative in Washington D.C., next year, as he will be moving to the area. Chaplin said one of his team members will take over the leadership position next year for the food drive.
Chaplin helped out the local community, and he also showed Langley that his unit is always a part of the team, even though they are not in Langley’s direct chain-of-command.
Col. Jeff Kruse, 480th ISR commander, drove that point home.
“Although we are a tenant unit, we never feel second-party here on base,” said Kruse. “When we have the option to take lead in the community, we take it.”
Kruse said allowing noncommissioned officers a chance to lead a program outside of work builds their teamwork and management capabilities, as well as relationships within the local community.
“The sense of accomplishment and partnership gained from these events can’t be overestimated,” said Kruse. “You never know what can happen; military members and their families might be receiving the aid provided.”
During a previous assignment in Florida, Kruse saw first-hand the effects of food drives like the Feds Feed Families initiative when tornadoes hit nearby Alabama. He said both service members and their families needed basic provisions immediately after the tornadoes, and thanks to clothing and food drives, those members and their families were sustained.
“We all join [the Air Force] for military service,” said Kruse. “Events like these help us truly understand service not just to the nation, but for the community.”

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