Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dakota Rayburn
BREMERTON, Washington – Thirteen Sailors assigned to USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) volunteered their time at the Bremerton Backpack Brigade, helping sort and deliver food to local schools, June 16.
Every Friday during the school year, the Bremerton Backpack Brigade provides backpacks and bags of food to children in need within the Bremerton School District along with information about local food programs throughout the summer.
Myra Battin, board president of Bremerton Backpack Brigade, said that improved education will help the children better their circumstances and provide them with a better future, and proper nutrition is an important aspect of that goal.
“Children are not responsible for their circumstances … but they remain hungry nonetheless,” said Battin. “We believe that feeding those little tummies, keeping them well-nourished over the weekends in particular, allows them to arrive at school Monday morning ready to learn.”
The volunteers recognized the value of helping out their local community and how they might learn new ways to assist those in need.
“It’s a learning experience … to see what people do differently than what you do so when you go back to your place you can use that for yourself,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 2nd Class Yaovi Ameto, from Togo, West Africa. He added that he hopes he inspires others to volunteer their time.
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Airman Janesha Johnson, from Brooklyn, said she has a significant amount of experience volunteering within her community before she joined the Navy. Her experiences taught her to understand other people and find common ground.
“If you get to know other people it make us more of a connected family,” said Johnson. “We all are dealing with the same [problems] together.”
Volunteering for worthy causes can become a healthy habit and all it takes is one time to get the bug.
“Just try it one time and see how much its helping and how much it’s appreciated and it will make you want to do it more,” said Information Specialist 3rd class Thalia Barry, from Fernwood, California. Barry said she was happy to volunteer her time to help people in need and believes other Sailors will feel just as rewarded as she did.
John C. Stennis is conducting a planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, during which the ship is undergoing scheduled maintenance and upgrades.