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Davis-Monthan Citizen Airmen help build a healthy, hunger-free tomorrow

The reservists spent their Saturday morning supporting the needy, spanning five counties by building 3,360 food boxes at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

Citizen Airmen of the 924th Fighter Group distribute food into emergency food boxes at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona during their annual tour at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Ariz., July 13, 2019. The Airmen packed 3,360 food boxes for low-income seniors, families, and children throughout 5 counties in and around Pima County. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Courtney Richardson)

The reservists spent their Saturday morning supporting the needy, spanning five counties by building 3,360 food boxes at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

Citizen Airmen of the 924th Fighter Group pose for a photo after volunteering at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona during their annual tour at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Ariz., July 13, 2019. The Airmen packed 3,360 food boxes for low-income seniors, families, and children throughout 5 counties in and around Pima County. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Courtney Richardson)

Tucson, Ariz. --

Citizen Airmen from the 924th Fighter Group kicked off their annual tour by volunteering at the local food bank July 13 in Tucson, Ariz.

The reservists spent their Saturday morning supporting the needy, spanning five counties by building 3,360 food boxes at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

The mission of the food bank is to change lives in the communities they serve by feeding the hungry today and building a healthy, hunger-free tomorrow. They distribute 65,000 meals daily, and serve 190,000 people every year.

Typically, the 924th FG travels to another location for the duration of their annual tour and gives back to the community by visiting local restaurants, local attractions, and buying souvenirs. However, this year they are staying home in Tucson.

“I wanted to find another way to extend our support to the local community and I immediately thought of the food bank, so I reached out,” said Chief Master Sgt. David Garcia, 924th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron specialist flight chief.

The food bank representatives jumped on Garcia’s request for the 924th FG to assist because this is always a tough time of year for the organization.

“Summer is a critical time to get volunteer help because many of our volunteers leave town, yet the demand for [food assistance] stays the same,” said Norma Cable, public relations and marketing specialist at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

The food bank had a previous relationship with the 355th Fighter Wing stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base but Garcia wants to help the 924th FG establish a relationship of their own.

“I want to help the unit continue to support the food bank by volunteering during our monthly drill weekends and by conducting food drives,” Garcia said. “This is just the beginning.”

Once the date and time were set, Garcia informed the Airmen and quickly had all the volunteers needed.

“The Airmen know how fortunate they are and how unfortunate others are for different reasons, so getting help was easy,” Garcia said.

Assisting at the local food bank allowed the Airmen to process the gravity of their help.

“The food bank is super important and a lot of times we can lose sight of the fact that there’s always someone worse off than you,” said Staff Sgt. Matt Snyder, 924th AMXS aerospace propulsion craftsman.

Snyder has always been aware of the need for food banks and volunteers and he looks forward to helping again in the future. This mindset is what Garcia hopes the rest of the unit will take away from the experience.

“I want my Airmen to not stop here, this one time. I want them to help in this community as well as their hometowns,” Garcia said.

The food boxes the Airmen built will support two different programs.

“The food goes to low-income seniors, 60 and over, with a 7-10 day supply of food as well as low-income families, children, and others with monthly emergency food assistance,” Cable said. “We are so grateful for the presence of the Air Force Reserve to get this important work done.”

Garcia and other senior leaders also shared their feelings about the selflessness and efficiency their Airmen displayed.

“The commander and I are proud of the camaraderie that we saw today. We got here, formed the line and immediately got to work, in fact finishing ahead of the schedule,” said Chief Master Sgt. Catherine Buchanan, 924th FG superintendent. “We are proud of each one of you and look forward to doing this again in the future.”