Marines, Sailors and civilians from Marine Barracks Washington served more than 350 hot meals to the needy in Washington, Dec. 11.
The 11 volunteers assembled a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, grits, sausage patties and bread at the So Others Might Eat, food kitchen.
The demand for charity services has increased dramatically since the economy took a downturn, said Perry Oakley, SOME cook.
“We went from 350 to 500 guests per day in one year,” Oakley added.
The Marines were willing to help those in need in their community, said 1st Sgt. Kevin Trotter, Guard Company First Sergeant. A handful of guard Marines, along with Trotter, had offered to work the morning shift.
The volunteers arrived on a cold, wet morning before the sun rose and worked the assembly line efficiently to prepare the meals as long lines formed outside the facility. When the doors opened for breakfast, it wasn’t long before the 160-seat room was packed with guests, who came in with worn hats and heavy coats to avoid the rain.
“The number of people coming here is growing,” said Brenda Edwards, a volunteer from the Foundry United Methodist church, which has established a 30-year relationship with SOME. “Many people come who have jobs.”
“As far as someone is looking for a hot meal and friendly face, they know that Marines are not just out there protecting them, but also giving them food and shelter,” Trotter said.
Barracks Marines served at SOME for more than 14 months, Logan said before pouring coffee for guests. Logan would give a brief devotional before each meal, and volunteers would prepare meals, set tables, wash dishes, and clean up. People had the opportunity to see the humane side of the Marines, not just the ones who fight.
“The staff loves us,” Logan added. “They see the side of the Marines that cares about people and their community.”
Antonio Ramseur, a soft-spoken guest, has been visiting SOME since 1995. He came early to beat the lines.
“The volunteers are nice. They serve good food,” Ramseur said.
Marines bring enthusiasm, camaraderie, energy, and dependability, said Don Dixon, SOME Director of Volunteer and Food Services. When Marines are on the job, it makes things a lot easier. Don plans to expand the Marines’ role next month, including assisting in maintenance operations.
“I just hope this is a long lasting relationship we have with the Marines,” Don added. I really enjoy working with you guys.”