Local food pantries benefit from Guard donations

Photos by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Department of Military Affairs Executive Director Mike Jones accepts a donation from Staff Sgt. Nicholas Anglin at the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky., Dec. 12, 2013. The annual food drive collected more than 3,300 pounds of non-perishable foods for local food pantries. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Every Christmas season, the Kentucky National Guard holds a food drive at the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky. While the staff of the Kentucky Guard’s Family Assistance Program accepts donations throughout the season, the main drive occurred at the front gates of the post Dec. 12, 2013. More than 3,300 pounds of non-perishable foods were collected along with $730 in cash donations.

Members of the Kentucky Guard’s command staff joined other Soldiers, Airmen and employees of Boone Center to greet everyone at the gate and collect the donations. Kristin Arnett is a Family Assistance Specialist and said its days like these that make her love her job and those around her.

“We have a great bunch of people that work on Boone Center, and their donations proved it this morning,” she said. “The outpour of their generosity warms my heart.”

To see more photos from the food drive, click here.

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Maj. Bryan Combs, director of the Kentucky National Guard’s Family Programs unloads food donations from a Soldier’s car in Frankfort, Ky., Dec. 12, 2013. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Despite the extremely cold morning, the front gate was packed with collection volunteers more than happy to lend a hand to the drive. Brig Gen. Benjamin Adams III, Chief of the Joint Staff also took the time to stand in the elements and help accept donations.

“The success of this food drive shows how our military and civilian employees continue to put the interests of others above their own,” said Adams.  “We ask so much of them in both wartime and in peace, but when the time comes they get into the holiday spirit and really come through.  That’s what the Kentucky Guard is all about!”

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Retired 1st Sgt. Joan Kivior and Sgt. 1st Class Paul Hunt load food donations into the back of a truck in Frankfort, Ky., Dec. 12, 2013. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Family Programs delivered the donations to local food pantries later that morning. Locations receiving the items included: Open Hands Community Food Pantry, Coalition of Committed Christians Soup Kitchen, Simon House and Camp Pleasant Food Pantry.

Maj. Bryan Combs, director of Family Programs said this year’s donations were down from previous years because of there only being one food drive. Family Programs conducted a drive prior to Thanksgiving also in 2011 and 2012. He hopes to do more soon.

“In speaking with the food pantries, this is a critical time of year for them because they receive little assistance (after the holidays) through the summer and their food banks are running low,” he said.

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Volunteers for the Kentucky Guard’s annual food drive gather for a group photo at the front gate of Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky., Dec. 12, 2013. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Below is a list of previous years’ totals, including pounds of food and cash donations.

2010 TOTALS: 1800lbs and $1843
2011 TOTALS: 4172lbs and $1562
2012 TOTALS: 3500lbs and $1203
2013 TOTALS: 3300lbs and $730

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