JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —
Volunteers from the 340th Flying Training Group joined the San Antonio Food Bank’s effort to wipe out hunger when they participated in the Million Summer Meals for Kids campaign.
For many food-insecure children, meals provided in school during the school year are the only meals some kids will get, and summer is a dangerous time for those kids.
“Children should not be hungry and they should not have to worry or fear where their next meal is coming from,” said Col. Allen Duckworth, 340th FTG commander. “The few hours our team volunteered, with volunteers from other local organizations, represented tens of thousands of meals for kids in need, which is incredible. Time committed to this effort is truly time well spent.”
Duckworth and two members of the team joined volunteers from a local department store chain to prepare nearly a thousand bagged lunches which would be packed and delivered to various locations in the multi-county support area.
The remaining group volunteers prepared hundreds of trays of chicken strips for the oven, and cleaned and sterilized equipment and racks in preparation for the next round of meal preparation.
For Reserve Citizen Airmen, this is more than a community outreach project.
“For most of my team, this area is home, and since we don’t move around like active duty, we are able to develop long-term relationships with our neighbors, and are able to commit time and energy to support critical programs, like the food bank,” he explained, adding “We are honored to be allowed to play a role in taking care of our community kids.”
One group volunteer supported the food bank activity with the same purpose and focus he brings to his daily mission in financial management.
“I believe in always helping others, no matter what,” said Anthoney Smith, 340th FTG travel lead.
It’s a perspective his teammates share. According to one group volunteer, it was a fulfilling, but sobering activity.
“This is an issue that is very close to my heart,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kwame Tawiah, group logistics plans superintendent.
For Tawiah, who also volunteers at a local animal shelter, this was his second visit to the food bank, but won’t be his last.
“I’m lucky that I never had to think about when -- or if -- I’d be able to eat again, and to know that one out of four kids will go hungry today is heartbreaking. If I can help in some small way, then maybe we can all help and change the future for these kids,” he said.
Group volunteers sign up quarterly to help sort and box food, work in the community kitchen or lend a hand wherever there is a need.
Tawiah helped sort and box food his first visit, and helped prepare meals in the community kitchen for his most recent visit.
“I had fun during both events - you know, they’re all for the same cause, and we get to do something valuable while enjoying time together. The first time, we got to meet a lot of people from around the city, which was interesting, as well. Whatever we do to support the food bank, I’ll be there,” he said.
The 340th Flying Training Group, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, supports Air Education and Training Command's Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Joint Primary Pilot Training, Pilot Instructor Training, Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals, Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, Basic Military Training and the United States Air Force Academy's Airmanship Programs.