The Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC), Curtis High School in University Place, is proving its dedication to effective community service by achieving its goal of feeding 5,000 hungry men, women and children in University Place and the surrounding Tacoma area over the holiday season.
In a community service project labeled Operation Feed 5000 The Viking Company cadets began collecting non-perishable food items on Nov. 1 (in containers provided by Lowes) outside of the Tacoma and University Place Safeway stores and Albertsons, and the Lakewood Market Place.
To date they have collected well over 6,000 food items and have made distribution to the following local organizations: The Salvation Army; Good Samaritan Adult Day Health; local food banks; Tacoma Mens Mission; Tacoma Rescue Mission; and over 35 individual families (a total of 81 boxes of non-perishable food items).
Many of the family gift boxes included a $15 gift card intended for the purchase of a holiday turkey or other meat item.
In addition, 15 of the 81 boxes made up by the cadets were donated to University Place Fire Department (UPFD) to assist in their goal of feeding 31 families this holiday season.
The cadets included a $15 gift card in each UPFD box for the purchase of perishable food.
The cadets have personally made delivery of the gift boxes to many of the recipients.
The final phase of “Operation Feed 5,000 will take place at the commissary on McChord Air Force Base, from Dec. 5 to Dec. 8.
The generosity of the local businesses and University Place and Tacoma families in donating to this worthy cause was phenomenal, said Master Sgt. Janice Brooks, one of the two instructors of Viking Company and project overseer. Not only did the area families benefit, the cadets learned many valuable lessons in providing service to community.
Though a large quantity of food has already been distributed for Thanksgiving, there is still plenty of food available for Christmas distribution.
Similar community service projects at Viking Company are running concurrently with Operation Feed 5000.
One is Operation Mad Dash For Toys which is modeled after the Marine Corps annual Toys For Tots toy drive.
This project is quickly reaching its goal of providing many toys to local area children.
In addition, the cadets with help from the Curtis Vocational Education Department, individually put together and contributed 74 Christmas gift and toy boxes which were donated to Operation Christmas Child, a project of the Christian relief and evangelism organization, Samaritans Purse.
The individually gift-wrapped boxes, each with a $5 check to cover postage, were stuffed with toys, school supplies, hard candy and hygiene items and delivered to children around the world who are suffering due to war, natural disaster, poverty, illness, or neglect.
Project Helping Hands is another community service project due to begin in January 2003.
This project will be a homeless feeding program in which the cadets will be providing hot meals to those on the streets of Tacoma and surrounding areas.