"We were not always the most well-off, but we did what we had to do. There were days when my parents were just unsure, and you guys came through and fed our family,” recalls Kaitlin, a Feeding the Gulf Coast volunteer. “For almost a year, we struggled really hard. My brother was really sick growing up. So there were a lot of decisions my family had to make; do we take him to Gainesville and spend all that money to take him to the children’s hospital, or do we feed our family? It was a decision between medical care to make sure he’s still with us or feeding our family.”
Kaitlin, a Navy Federal volunteer group member, knows all too well the impact the food box she’s packing during her shift will have on the family who receives it. For her, it is a direct way to give back to a mission that helped her family when they faced hard decisions regarding medical care for her brother and determining how they would continue to provide food for the family—choices that individuals in our community face every day.
“There was a local church right up the road from our house that you guys supported on a monthly basis,” said Kaitlin. “We went every single time and most days; it was how we ate—it was all we ate.”
Kaitlin, like others, has found a way to sow seeds of generosity through volunteering. She comes out to our Milton Warehouse with her coworkers from Navy Federal regularly, helping the staff process food donations and prepare meal boxes for the Backpack Program and the Senior Box Program. Together, Navy Federal volunteers have contributed nearly 3,500 hours in the last few years. Day in and day out, thousands of families across the central Gulf Coast receive groceries, thanks to dedicated volunteers like Kaitlin and her coworkers with Navy Federal, who strive to make a difference. Kaitlin encourages others, “If I can come out here and sort some food boxes or pack some backpacks or the elderly boxes—anytime I can do it, I’m going to do it.”