Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Commissary is collecting food and personal items for the annual “Feds Feed Families” food drive through Aug. 31.
Ernest Beckwith, assistant store director, Commissary, MCLB Albany, said this is the third year the Commissary has participated in the drive.
“The purpose of the food drive is to provide food to those in need within the local community,” Beckwith said. “During the summertime, donations are down so the food drive helps fill the gap.”
Commissary employees have simplified the process to make purchasing and donating food easier. Pre-made bags, with pictures of its contents, are located at each checkout counter for $5 each.
“When customers purchase their groceries, they can tell the cashier they would like to donate to the food bank,” he said. “They can (make their selection) and the customer’s receipt is stapled to the bag for proof of purchase.”
There are several prepackaged bags, including canned goods, fruit and pasta, each containing five to six items, the assistant store director said. Customers can drop off their donation in a bin at the exit of the Commissary.
Beckwith said only authorized shoppers can purchase the pre-made bags.
“Customers can purchase items off the shelf and donate them,” he said. “The pre-made bags are cheaper and were made to make it easier for the customer to purchase and donate.”
Beckwith makes announcements over the public address system each hour to remind shoppers of the ongoing collection.
Beckwith, a military retiree, was the first person to contribute to the 2014 campaign.
“There is no need for anybody in America to go hungry, especially children,” he said. “It is important for people to have the right nutrition so they don’t get sick.
“If we can help them out on this end maybe they will not have the diseases that come with not having enough to eat,” he added.
The donations will be distributed to the Food Bank of Southwest Georgia in Albany, Georgia, according to Beckwith.
The food bank will pick up the donations every other Thursday, or as needed.
“Marine Corps Logistics Base (Albany) is one of the major employers in this area and I think it is important and crucial to let the community know we are part of the community,” Beckwith said. “We work in the community, we live in the community and we want to help take care of the community.
“If we can reach one person, our goal has been met,” he said.
Ken Sator, director, Installations, Environment and Safety Office, Marine Corps Logistics Command, said it feels good to help those in need.
“It is socially and morally right to give to others so they can have an easier life,” Sator said.
Beckwith said the MCLB Albany Commissary collected nearly 1,200 pounds of food during the 2013 campaign.
According to a Defense Commissary Agency news release, commissaries collected nearly 740,000 pounds of food in 2013.
This is 39 percent of the more than 1.9 million pounds of food collected for local food banks by the Department of Defense.
The entire federal government collected 9 million pounds of food, according to the release.
The most-needed items for donations include:
* Baking goods - flour, baking soda, spices
* Canned fruits - in light syrup or its own juices
* Canned proteins - tuna, salmon, chicken, peanut butter and beans
* Canned vegetables - low sodium, no salt
* Condiments - tomato-based sauces, light soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, salad dressing or oils
* Grains - brown and white rice, oatmeal, bulgar, quinoa, couscous, pasta, and macaroni and cheese
* Hygiene items - diapers, deodorants (men and women), feminine products, toilet paper, tissues, soap, toothpaste and shampoo
* Multigrain cereal
* 100 percent juice - all sizes, including juice boxes
* Paper products and household items - paper towels, napkins, cleaning supplies
* Snacks - individually-packed snacks, crackers, trail mix, dried fruit, granola and cereal bars, pretzels
* Soups - beef stew, chili, chicken noodle, turkey or rice
For more information about Feds Feed Families or to donate, call the Commissary at 229-639-5258.