[image-62]Employees from the White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) are shopping again! They are collecting food for two local non-profit agencies: one that is currently feeding 68 children two meals and a snack each day this summer, and another that supplies food for up to 1700 families each month. All this shopping for this many people could be mind-boggling, but employees and their employers at WSTF have it covered.
In addition to the huge amounts of food donated by all of the employees, ERC, Inc., a sub-contractor on the Test and Evaluation Contract, has risen to the top as a major contributor to the food drive. "Last year our local employees donated 600 pounds of food. I wanted to challenge them to do more and let them know that their company would do so as well. If they collected 1200 lbs., ERC would donate $2400," said Albert Wu, in charge of ERC's community outreach.
The employees met the challenge and while delivering some of the food, they discovered a great need for diapers, formula, and baby wipes. With three weeks left in the drive, the ERC challenge changed to 1800 lbs. for an additional $600 on top of the $2400 to be used for other essential items for young children.
"I'm extremely proud of our WSTF employees and their efforts to help others in their community," said Wu.
Darrell Shoup, a principle for ERC, and a father of two children, said, "It is a blessing for us to have our jobs at the test facility, but it is our pleasure to pass our good fortune on to less fortunate children and their families."
Jardin de los Niños provides therapeutic children's services to 68 homeless/near homeless children and their parents. They also provide breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack to the children.
"The money that ERC has donated, plus the food that the employees have donated, will help replenish these food banks, which typically run low during the summer," said Kathleen Franklin, who works in the Technical Services Office and who has worked the WSTF Feds Feed Families effort for the past three years. Her passion for helping the community has led her to press the directors of the food banks to pinpoint what their needs were this summer.
"I asked them to make a list and to shoot for the moon," said Franklin.
And this year, not only are specific food items and the amounts needed on the list, but back-to-school items, plastic ware, large stainless steel pots and pans, and toiletries, as well. Franklin has a gift for going to the heart of the matter: what are the absolutely essential needs of the agencies?
"The WSTF employees have generously responded to the lists," said Franklin of the very successful campaign.
[image-78]In the month of July, Casa de Peregrinos distributed more than 1800 food boxes averaging about 50 pounds each. That is more than 90,000 pounds of food that went out to the hungry in Doña Ana County. We are certainly grateful and so blessed to have the Feds Feed Families program at the White Sands Test Facility; it has really made a difference once again this year. Our summers are tough here at Casa and what you have done for us certainly gives us much added relief. Thank you, once again your timing is impeccable," said Lorenzo Alba, Jr., Executive Director, Casa de Peregrinos Emergency Food Bank.
"Please thank everyone for us! We are very fortunate and consider you all friends of our homeless children," said Shirley Jaquez, Executive Director of the Jardin de los Niños.
The WSTF 2012 Fabulously Fun Food Drive continues through August 31, 2012.
For more information about the local food banks, click on: www.jardinlc.org and www.casadeperegrinos.org