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340th FTG helps fight hunger

Headquarters 340 Flying Training Group Airmen and family members pose at the SA Foodbank in front of a nearly empty space, previously filled with cartons and bins and boxes and palettes of food waiting to be sorted. The team helped sort 10,000-plus pounds of food, representing more than 8,300 meals. Pictured are (left side, left to right) Tech. Sgt. Kassandra Farani, Col. Allen Duckworth, Tech. Sgt. Shakeeta Thomas, Jeanne Goetze, Tech. Sgt. Amosa Farani and Chief Master Sgt. Scott Goetze, and (right side, right to left, front row), Master Sgt. Natasha Todd, Master Sgt. Angelina Manby, and Tech. Sgt. Jaclyn Johnson, and (back row, right to left) Senior Master Sgt. Craig Pfister and Senior Master Sgt. Kwame Tawiah. Not pictured: Master Sgt. Faith Wells. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Headquarters 340 Flying Training Group Airmen and family members pose at the SA Foodbank in front of a nearly empty space, previously filled with cartons and bins and boxes and palettes of food waiting to be sorted. The team helped sort 10,000-plus pounds of food, representing more than 8,300 meals. Pictured are (left side, left to right) Tech. Sgt. Kassandra Farani, Col. Allen Duckworth, Tech. Sgt. Shakeeta Thomas, Jeanne Goetze, Tech. Sgt. Amosa Farani and Chief Master Sgt. Scott Goetze, and (right side, right to left, front row), Master Sgt. Natasha Todd, Master Sgt. Angelina Manby, and Tech. Sgt. Jaclyn Johnson, and (back row, right to left) Senior Master Sgt. Craig Pfister and Senior Master Sgt. Kwame Tawiah. Not pictured: Master Sgt. Faith Wells. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Senior Master Sgt. Craig Pfister, 340th Flying Training Group inspections superintendent, and Master Sgt. Faith Wells, 340th financial services section chief, sign in to the San Antonio Foodbank prior to the 340th FTG community support activity held Feb. 22. The 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Senior Master Sgt. Craig Pfister, 340th Flying Training Group inspections superintendent, and Master Sgt. Faith Wells, 340th financial services section chief, sign in to the San Antonio Foodbank prior to the 340th FTG community support activity held Feb. 22. The 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

SA Foodbank volunteers Master Sgt. Faith Wells, Senior Master Sgt. Kwame Tawiah, Tech. Sgt. Shakeeta Thomas and Master Sgt. Angelina Manby listen to the volunteer coordinator’s instructions before they begin sorting donated food during the 340th FTG community support activity held Feb. 22. The 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

SA Foodbank volunteers Master Sgt. Faith Wells, Senior Master Sgt. Kwame Tawiah, Tech. Sgt. Shakeeta Thomas and Master Sgt. Angelina Manby listen to the volunteer coordinator’s instructions before they begin sorting donated food during the 340th FTG community support activity held Feb. 22. The 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Master Sgt. Natasha Todd (left) and Tech. Sgt. Amosa Farani (white shirt) work alongside volunteers from other San Antonio-area organizations to sort and box food during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Master Sgt. Natasha Todd (left) and Tech. Sgt. Amosa Farani (white shirt) work alongside volunteers from other San Antonio-area organizations to sort and box food during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Col. Allen Duckworth, 340th FTG Commander, takes loose cans of food to the appropriate packing stations while group superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Scott Goetze works to keep debris and boxes out of packers’ way during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Col. Allen Duckworth, 340th FTG Commander, takes loose cans of food to the appropriate packing stations while group superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Scott Goetze works to keep debris and boxes out of packers’ way during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Master Sgt. Natasha Todd and Tech. Sgt. Kassandra Farani share a fun moment while sorting and packing food during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Master Sgt. Natasha Todd and Tech. Sgt. Kassandra Farani share a fun moment while sorting and packing food during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Tech. Sgt. Shakeeta Thomas, 340th financial services technician, works on sorting and packing non-food items during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Tech. Sgt. Shakeeta Thomas, 340th financial services technician, works on sorting and packing non-food items during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Senior Master Sgt. Craig Pfister, 340th inspections superintendent, prepares to haul a palette of sorted food to the warehouse during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Senior Master Sgt. Craig Pfister, 340th inspections superintendent, prepares to haul a palette of sorted food to the warehouse during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Master Sgt. Angelina Manby, 340th occupational safety manager, checks for expiration dates before packing food in a box during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Master Sgt. Angelina Manby, 340th occupational safety manager, checks for expiration dates before packing food in a box during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Senior Master Sgt. Kwame Tawiah hauls a palette out of the way during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)
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Senior Master Sgt. Kwame Tawiah hauls a palette out of the way during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Tech. Sgt. Jaclyn Johnson takes loose dry goods to the correct sorting station during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)
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Tech. Sgt. Jaclyn Johnson takes loose dry goods to the correct sorting station during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Tech. Sgt. Amosa Farani (married to 340th FTG force management NCO Tech. Sgt. Kassandra Farani) and Jeanne Goetze (married to 340th superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Scott Goetze) discuss the appropriate container for pet supplies during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)
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Tech. Sgt. Amosa Farani (married to 340th FTG force management NCO Tech. Sgt. Kassandra Farani) and Jeanne Goetze (married to 340th superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Scott Goetze) discuss the appropriate container for pet supplies during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

340th Superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Scott Goetze breaks down boxes for recycling during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)
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340th Superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Scott Goetze breaks down boxes for recycling during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Master Sgt. Natasha Todd pulls donated food from the depths of the collection bins during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)
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Master Sgt. Natasha Todd pulls donated food from the depths of the collection bins during the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Together, the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

Master Sgt. Angelina Manby (left) and Tech. Sgt. Kassandra Farani pose for a pic at the end of the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Manby and Farani organized the event, during which the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)
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Master Sgt. Angelina Manby (left) and Tech. Sgt. Kassandra Farani pose for a pic at the end of the 340th FTG’s Feb. 22 community outreach event in support of the San Antonio Foodbank. Manby and Farani organized the event, during which the 340th team and fellow volunteers sorted and packed more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food items, including pet supplies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Debbie Gildea)

A dozen people from the 340th Flying Training Group headquarters (including two members’ spouses) joined forces with city-wide volunteers Feb. 22 to help fight hunger in southwest Texas.

 

During the San Antonio Foodbank volunteer event, organized by Master Sgt. Angelina Manby, group occupational safety manager, and Tech. Sgt. Kassandra Farani, assistant NCO in charge of force management, volunteers worked to sort and organize items donated to the foodbank.

 

By the end of the afternoon, the team helped sort and stack more than 10,000 pounds of food and non-food donations. The food donations alone were the equivalent of more than 8,300 individual meals.

 

Food insecurity is a growing concern across the country, according to foodbank representatives. Today 19 percent of all kids nationwide live in a food insecure household (which means that their families lack the necessary resources to buy food for everyone in their home).

 

It’s an issue that goes straight to the 340th commander’s heart.

 

“Nothing is more heartbreaking than knowing children are in need,” said Col. Allen Duckworth. Children should never go hungry, and thanks to this kind of opportunity, we can all do something to help a lot of families in need.”

 

The SA Foodbank, the first of its kind in Texas, feeds 58,000 people in 16 Southwest Texas counties every week. The amount of food necessary to meet that need is staggering. More than 45,000 pounds of food must be donated/collected, sorted, inspected, and distributed. And that takes a lot of volunteers.

 

Putting together a volunteer group may take time and coordination, but it’s worth the effort, according to Manby.

 

“It was great to see 340th FTG members working together - not only ourselves but with other volunteers from the community - to work sorting out all the food for the bank,” she said. “I think everyone enjoyed being there and being able to help out the community.  I’m glad to be able to put this event together with Sergeant Farani.”

 

For people who are unable to make time to volunteer, there are other ways to support the foodbank - people can donate money, food or both. In addition, food banks nationwide seek advocates - people who can help them spread the word about the need.

 

Foodbank employees and volunteers focus first on meeting immediate hunger needs, but SA Foodbank programs are also intended to help educate, inform and prepare families for a future.

 

The culinary program, Texas Second Chance and job assistance programs teach participants viable skills that they can use to earn a living. Benefits assistance ensures people understand what kind of help is available, and counselors help people complete paperwork required to get that assistance, as well. Specific programs exist to help children and senior citizens, and they can even help low income families with some pet needs.

 

Whether donating money or time, supporters benefit in many ways.

 

“I felt like it was very rewarding,” said Farani. “And it went by so fast. It was an amazing feeling knowing that by giving a few hours of our time we were able to produce 8,000 meals for families in need.”

 

The work was definitely challenging, physically, but Farani said part of the reason time flew by was the foodbank staff.

 

“They were extremely pleasant and played great music while we worked,” she explained, noting that it didn’t really feel like work.

 

Farani, Manby and the 340th team will be back for another opportunity to help eliminate hunger in the southwest Texas region.

 

“Volunteering once or twice will help, but it won’t eliminate hunger, and there are so many kids out there who need our help. We’ll definitely be back,” Duckworth said.