Marines took on a small part of a feeding the hungry initiative in Boston May 4.
The task was to help process and package non-perishable items at the Greater Boston Food Bank, a non-profit organization, and the Marines with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, met it head on and packed hundreds of pounds of food for the hungry.
This was one of approximately twenty volunteer events that Marines will participate in this week as part of Marine Week Boston, said James “Spike” Scott, the volunteer outreach coordinator for Marine Week.
“By doing these volunteer outreach projects, we can come in and leave a lasting impact and a lasting impression on the community that supports us and that our Marines come from.”
The Marine volunteers, based out of Johnson City, Tenn., received a class on what to check for when evaluating the food.
"It's giving back a little bit," said Lance Cpl. Ben Wiley, a Johnson City native serving with Company L. "That's part of what the Marine Corps is about, giving back to the community, and it helps show the people of Boston that we're here and taking care of them too."
Kelly Sajous, the product recovery facilitator for the food bank, said he tried to ensure that the Marines knew what the food bank would be able to use and what had to be thrown out, in order to make feeding the hungry a success.
“We might not be on the front lines, but there’s still important work to be done,” said Staff Sgt. Norman Sutphin, a High Point, N.C., native serving with Company L. “The hard stuff and the soft stuff is important.”
Each Marine was responsible for a different category of food that came to their section via conveyer belt, and would check for quality by examining the expiration dates and the state of the container depending on that station.
“We needed to make sure we were doing the job,” said Sgt. Christopher Joyner, a Maryville, Tenn., native serving with Company L. “Part of the Marine Corps standard is getting things right the first time.”
One of the major successes of the first Marine Week, held last year in Chicago, was the volunteer events that Marines participated in, said Scott.
Volunteering was nothing new for these Marines. As members of the Marine Corps Reserve, they are the driving force behind Toys for Tots, the annual toy drive for needy children, said Cpl. Seth Lane, a Big Stone Gap, Va., native serving with Company L.
“A lot of people know Marines are warriors,” he said. “We’re showing that’s not the only thing we are. We like to say ‘No better friend, no worse enemy.’”
The food will be distributed to nine counties in eastern Massachusetts, and will feed some of the almost 400,000 people the food bank helps each year – an endeavor the Marines said they were proud to have took on.
“Hopefully, we can inspire a lot of people to donate to their local food bank,” said Cpl. Erin Carpenter, a Hastings, Mich., native serving with Mobilization Command, Marine Forces Reserve.
For more information on volunteering at The Greater Boston Food Bank, go to http://www.gbfb.org.
For more information about the events in Marine Week Boston, go to facebook.com/MarineWeek or twitter.com/Marineweek.