NORWICH, Conn. -- Sailors from Naval Submarine Base New London, Naval Submarine School, Commander, Submarine Group 2 and Pre-Commissioning Unit North Dakota (SSN 784) participated in a community service volunteer project in Norwich July 10.
Approximately 30 Sailors provided the necessary muscle to help temporarily relocate a local soup kitchen and food pantry.
The Sailors moved everything from pots and pans to canned goods, refrigerators and stoves.
In just shy of five hours and 12 truck loads, the Sailors moved all of the necessary items for the soup kitchen and food pantry to return to full operations on Thursday and to continue to assist the needy in the Norwich and surrounding communities.
Corinne Kelly, chairman of the board of directors for the food pantry and soup kitchen was humbled by the generosity of the Sailors who volunteered their time.
"It meant survival," said Kelly, who added that the Sailors' volunteering was instrumental in allowing the food pantry and soup kitchen to continue supporting their community.
Kelly reflected on the efficiency and quality of the men and women who went to task moving mountains "with a smile" to ensure the soup kitchen could continue to support those in need.
"I'm usually proud to be an American on the Fourth of July, but on the [tenth] of July, 30 Sailors came and helped us feed the homeless, unemployed, 400 children that come to our pantry every month and it was a honor to be associated with these Sailors," said Kelly, who added that the soup kitchen served a quarter of a million meals last year.
Senior Chief Machinist's Mate (SS) Richard Hicks, one of the 30 Sailors who volunteered, is assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit North Dakota, and emphasized the importance of assisting the local community.
"We received the call from the community that they needed help and came to assist," said Hicks. "It's always good to give back."
Information Technician Seaman Apprentice Amber McWhorter, assigned to Base Consolidated Telecommunications aboard Naval Submarine Base New London echoed Hicks' sentiment about the importance of recognizing a need in the community and assisting when possible.
"It's a good opportunity to help out the Norwich community," said McWhorter.
The Sailors helped move the furniture items used by the food pantry and soup kitchen to a temporary location as repairs to the former soup kitchen site continue.
According to their website, the facility provides food assistance to needy families in the South Bend community. They also work as an advocate for those in need.