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First Sergeants help those in need

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Amanda Morris
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Andersen first sergeants maintain the First Sergeants Food Locker to Airmen, dependents and civilians associated with Andersen Air Force Base.

The first sergeants collaborated to develop the food locker for those struggling to fill their pantries during the U.S. government shutdown in October. The food locker is a location where non-perishable foods are collected and stocked for times of need. Anyone affiliated with Andersen can contact their first sergeant for access to the locker, which is located at 1958A Guadalcanal.

"Many people were going through difficult times and needed help," said Senior Master Sgt. Rena Banes, 36th Maintenance Group first sergeant. "The food locker is available for all who need it. There is no reason to be embarrassed; we have all been there."

Anyone can donate to the locker, but the majority of donations are typically received from families changing duty stations who call their first sergeant and ask to donate items instead of throwing away unused food before the move. Other large donations have been a result of recent food drives hosted by the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron.

"The locker needed some support," Banes said. "The shelves were bare, so CES did their food drive."

"We saw an email from the shirt about the food locker and I saw nothing coming in." said Master Sgt. Carrie Frederickson, 36th CES assistant chief of fire prevention. "We decided to split up the shops and have a competition.

Frederickson said the largest push for the competition came when the explosive ordnance disposal flight entered the drive.

After EOD donated a large amount of food, the competition became heated. The electric shop donated more than 170 pounds, putting them ahead of EOD, but EOD eventually won the competition by donating more than 250 pounds of food and water.

"We are pretty competitive in our shop," said Airman 1st Class Nico Bustos, 36th CES explosive ordnance disposal apprentice. "When we saw the opportunity to have this competition with the rest of the squadron we were intrigued. We wanted to win."

During the drive held by 36th CES more than 370 pounds of food and 25 cases of water were donated.

"We are a very small shop; it's like a family," said Airman 1st Class Dumitru Petre, 36th CES, EOD apprentice. "We can see the benefit of the food drive. If we could do it more often we could help a lot of people on base."

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