TAMPA, Fla. — Sailors from across the country teamed up at Feeding Tampa Bay this week to pack boxes of meals for local families in need. It’s all part of Navy Week.
Sailor Joseph Koh knows all too well about the families relying on these boxes of food.
“During the pandemic, my family was a recipient of some of these goods when it was very difficult to get groceries,” said Koh.
In the course of three hours, Koh, alongside 40 other sailors, packed 3,200 meals.
“Sailors are always having fun but this week we are really focused on service,” said Koh.
For many of these men and women in uniform, it’s their first mission together.
“Out of the USS Florida, they’re out of San Diego, Norfolk, Virginia, all over the country,” said Lt. Randy Ott. “It’s amazing we brought this event together because we wanted to feed Tampa Bay, we want to give back to the community, they’re excited.”
While Feeding Tampa Bay says out of all the charitable organizations to choose from, it’s an honor the U.S. Navy took time out of their busy week to help them.
“Clearly they understand food insecurity is at its height again because of inflation so I really know that's why they reached out to us, they know the need is out there, they know how important it is to get food on tables,” said Shannon Oliviero, with Feeding Tampa Bay.
While it may not be the bowels of a submarine or deck of an aircraft carrier the work is real and so is the sweat.
“It’s very hot, it’s hard work, we’re lifting heavy boxes,” said sailor Sasha Lowry.
Feeding Tampa Bay hopes the sight of sailors volunteering their time encourages others to lend the organization a hand.
“Go to feedingtampabay.org we even have family night where you can bring your kids, come on down, join the fun” said Oliviero.