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Vandenberg Food Pantry in need of volunteers

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Checking the expiration dates on donated canned items, Lori Danehy, a Vandenberg Food Pantry coordinator, and Raymond Vasquez, an Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant, organize the Vandenberg Food Pantry’s inventory here, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. The food pantry is a volunteer managed program that assists military personnel and family members experiencing financial hardship by collecting and distributing donated food and other products. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Checking the expiration dates on donated canned items, Lori Danehy, a Vandenberg Food Pantry coordinator, and Raymond Vasquez, an Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant, organize the Vandenberg Food Pantry’s inventory here, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. The food pantry is a volunteer managed program that assists military personnel and family members experiencing financial hardship by collecting and distributing donated food and other products. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Vandenberg Food Pantry, located at the Airman and Family Readiness Center here, is currently seeking volunteers to help support the base's food pantry.

The food pantry is a volunteer-managed program that assists military personnel and family members experiencing financial hardship by collecting and distributing donated food and other products.

"What the food pantry does is it gives people an opportunity to get back on their feet and not feel ashamed for the circumstances they may be in," said Lori Danehy, a Vandenberg Food Pantry coordinator.

Food pantry coordinators are requesting help in the following three areas:

1)  Assistance from base organizations that are willing to conduct at least one annual food drive
2)  Volunteers to help assist with food distribution or by coordinating food drives
3)  Cash donations

"Donations to the Vandenberg Food Pantry will go directly to support our own Vandenberg community members," Ms. Danehy said.

In 2010, nearly 85 volunteers from the Vandenberg community helped to distribute 32,000 pounds of food at an estimated net worth of $40,000 to benefit approximately 300 Vandenberg families.

"The volunteers are the backbone of the program," said Ms. Danehy. "I would really like to thank all of the volunteers, because without them, we could not operate the food pantry. It takes all of the volunteers doing what they do to help make this whole process work."

In conjunction with the services provided by the Airman and Family Readiness Center, the food pantry also serves as a supplemental means to provide families with groceries and hygiene items to help them apply the their money to pay down debt or to build their financial savings.

"This program is a perfect example of people helping people and people helping themselves," Raymond Vasquez, an Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant.

To utilize the food pantry, people must first enroll at the Airman and Family Readiness Center. An initial financial plan is required and will be reviewed quarterly with the base's community readiness consultants.

For more information about volunteer opportunities or to donate to the Vandenberg Food Pantry, call Lori Danehy or Lisa Spencer at 606-0039, or email lisa.spencer@hotmail.com.