Helping Hands—Feeding those in need

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shandresha Mitchell
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
The Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitan area has the largest homeless population in the United States. Having a bed to lie in and a hot meal each day is not a luxury many individuals are able to enjoy.

Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 12 Airmen from the 6th Air Mobility Wing volunteered three hours of their time giving back to the community at Metropolitan Ministries, in downtown Tampa.

"It feels great to be able to give back to those less fortunate," commented Airman 1st Class Takiis Thompson, 6th Comptroller Squadron. "It made me realize that I take so much for granted and because of that I'm able to appreciate the opportunities I have a lot more. Whenever I think about complaining about something I will always remember this experience."

The Airmen were assigned to the kitchen and helped prepare over 2,000 meals for those in need in the Tampa Bay community. From making sandwiches to dicing vegetables, the Airmen had a helping hand in it all.

"I am extremely passionate about the well-being of the less fortunate; I wanted to give back in a way that would mean something of significance and importance to the needy and by aiding in the preparation of meals for them I was able to fulfill that," said Thompson.

In the Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitan area, for every 10,000 residents there are 57 homeless. There are over 16,000 homeless people in the Tampa area alone, with one in five of them being children. However, Metropolitan Ministries is doing something to help the homeless families stay intact.

"Going into it, I had no idea how much Metropolitan Ministries did for the community in and outside of their facilities," said Tech. Sgt. William Correa, 6th Operations Group. "But once I realized the impact, it felt great helping out in that kitchen and also made me determined to volunteer again in the near future."

Correa commented that he felt good knowing that at the end of the day, people who are in need are going to be able to get a few moments of joy during these holidays and some good food to eat.

"I will definitely be coordinating more of these [volunteer] opportunities, so be on the lookout," said Thompson. "To know that what I did helped nourish the bodies of over 2,000 people is beyond me, and I am extremely grateful for the experience and the ability to do that."