Wrangler soldiers from the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, joined forces with other Fort Hood units, middle school students, local volunteers, and the Killeen Food Care Center for the 24th annual Food for Families drive at the Special Events Center in Killeen on Nov. 22.
Killeen Food Care Center co-director Gerald Farris said they hoped to collect 125,000 pounds of nonperishable food items this year to exceed last year’s total.
“The first couple of years we did this we collected about 70,000 pounds,” Farris said. “We went over 100,000 pounds last year but the weather is not helping us much this year.”
With temperatures dipping down close to freezing, Farris said they would not let that deter them from doing everything possible to reach their goal.
“It is an extra blessing to have the soldiers out here helping,” he said. “We have some groups here that brought some equipment with them from Fort Hood. They have trucks from the 4th Sustainment (Brigade) here helping collect the food.”
The main goal of the food drive is to collect as many nonperishable food items as possible to restock the five local area food pantries ready for the upcoming holiday season.
The food pantries help the less fortunate during the busy holiday season by distributing items that Farris said are getting harder to come by because local stores and community are feeling the economic crunch, too.
As the day went on, Wrangler soldiers drove along five different pre-planned routes collecting food from six local schools and stores such as H-E-B, Walmart, Sam’s Club and IGA Foodliner.
“Today we have been hauling pallets of food and boxes of food from different stores in Harker Heights,” said Sgt. Jacob Krpan, of the 96th Transportation Company, 49th Transportation Battalion.
Spc. Damarcus Williams volunteered to drive one of the six M-1078, Light Medium Tactical Vehicles used by the brigade’s 96th Trans Company to collect all the donations.
“It feels good to help people that need it in the community,” Williams said. “In high school I was in the Community Service Club, so around Thanksgiving we would go and help out at the soup kitchens handing out food. This is a little different, because you’re not actually handing out the food, but I’m still collecting it and making a difference.”