Airmen, families pack food for Afghan needy

Posted March 15, 2009 10:45 a.m. EDT
Updated March 15, 2009 3:35 p.m. EDT

— Seymour Johnson Air Force Base service members and their families gathered Saturday to pack food for needy civilians in Afghanistan.

Around 220 volunteers showed up at the MERCI Mission Center in Goldsboro to help with the operation.

The nutritious, nonperishable food will be shipped by the military to Bagram Air Force Base. It will be distributed through local schools by the United Methodist Church and Trust in Education, an American nonprofit.

TIE's work building schools in Afghanistan has established its credibility, which should ease the way for the food to be distributed, said Rev. Billy A. Olsen, pastor of Pine Forest United Methodist Church in Goldsboro.

The goal, Olsen said, is "to provide food for hungry children and their families in Afghanistan ... not once, but over the long term."

The partners in the effort are aiming to ship food every three months, he said.

Partners also include Stop Hunger Now, a global nonprofit with a warehouse in Wayne County; Seymour Johnson Base Chapel; and the U.S. Air Force's Denton Program, which allows nonprofits to use available space military cargo planes to transport humanitarian goods.