Homeless get helping hand from 388th FW

Tech. Sgts. Linda Souza (left) and Maria Perrin, of the 388th Fighter Wing, serve lunch Dec. 6 at St. Anne’s Center in Ogden. They said they enjoy giving back to others in the local community, especially during the holiday season.
Master Sgt. Ricky Harmon, one of the 10 volunteers from the 388th Fighter Wing, serves lunch.
By Andrea V. Mason
Team Hill Public Affairs
December 15, 2011

OGDEN -- Ten volunteers from the 388th Fighter Wing demonstrated their commitment to service as they served lunch to nearly 100 homeless guests of St. Anne's shelter in Ogden Dec. 6.

This service is part of the wing's community outreach program where several volunteer opportunities to help within the local community are offered throughout the year.

"This is my fourth time volunteering to feed the homeless," said Master Sgt. Ricky Harmon. "It's so nice to help people especially with the holidays right around the corner."

Dani Charbonneau, St. Anne's volunteer coordinator, has worked with Hill Air Force Base volunteers for the past two years and appreciates the military's support.

"We're so thankful for the consistent support and love the 388th Fighter Wing and Hill provide to our center throughout the year," Charbonneau said.

She said working with the military volunteers is probably one of the most rewarding things she gets to do.

"Our service members are a big asset to the shelter here," she added. "I appreciate how so many of them volunteer because they really enjoy helping people."

Like Harmon, several members of the wing enjoy coming back on a monthly basis to lend a hand wherever needed.

To them volunteering at a homeless shelter, a food bank or a soup kitchen doesn't only help the needy, but it can also remind them how fortunate they are to have each other.

"I enjoy giving back. This is my fourth time volunteering to feed the homeless at St. Anne's, and I'm honored to lead the group for the first time today," said Tech. Sgt. Maria Perrin.

"This shelter gives the homeless some of the things they need to survive, and it helps to successfully transition them back into the community. The community here at Hill is so good to our military, so it's really nice to provide help to them too," she said.

Staci Long, wife of the 388th FW Commander Col. Scott Long, also attended and received a tour of the facility. She said it was an excellent opportunity to give back to the community who is so gracious to the military here.

"I was grateful for the opportunity to spend time with the Airmen and watch them help others during this holiday season," Long said. "It was a humbling experience for all of us, and I'm thankful to be part of such a generous group of volunteers."

St. Anne's Center receives all of its food on a donation-only basis and provides hands-on assistance to homeless people with a mission to assist people in moving from alienation and poverty to self-sufficiency and inclusion.

According to St. Anne's Center, nearly 20 percent of their clients are also war veterans.

"In today's economy, the face of homelessness has changed and now it can be our family, friends and neighbors who become homeless," Charbonneau said.

The center is in need of cleaning supplies, laundry detergent and deodorizing items. Clothing donations are also welcome. To learn more about St. Anne's or to volunteer please visit www.stannescenter.org or call 801-621-5036.