by Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega, Jr.
944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
4/16/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Global
hunger took another hit today by Luke Air Force Base service members
and their families April 13 as they worked alongside community
organizations to build "Food for Kidz" boxes.
Approximately 165 volunteers from Luke AFB spent about six hours
packaging 105,000 meals, which will be sent to Afghanistan to feed
hungry children. The event was headed by Grace Bible Fellowship Church
in Sun City and fueled by service members and their families.
Retired Lt. Gen. John Bradley, former Air Force Reserve Command
commander, requested the church to donate time, resources and efforts to
the Lamia Afghan Foundation. The nonprofit foundation was founded by
Bradley and his wife and was inspired by an experience he had in
Afghanistan when a little 9-year old girl named Lamia begged him for his
"This food packing event is going to be a lot of help to a lot of
families," Bradley said. "We've sent food from "Food for Kidz" many
times in the past, and they have always been very generous. I also want
to thank the Airmen and their families for coming here today to help
with this food packing event. It shows each has a good heart for people
in need, and there are people in need all over the world, especially in
The meals will be distributed to refugee camps and orphanages in
Afghanistan by the Lamia foundation, whose mission it is to help the
children and disadvantaged people of Afghanistan by providing
humanitarian aid, educational opportunities and vocational training that
will provide the next generation of Afghans with opportunities
unavailable to their parents.
Capt. Kenya Gray, 56th Fighter Wing Chapel, was the project officer who
directed and coordinated this year's event. "The Air Force is great, the
best people to ever work for because they will step up and have your
back, and that's what all I'm about, people having each other's back,"
Mary Baumgartem, "Food for Kidz" of Minnesota vice chairman, along with
her grandson, donated their time and provided insight into what the
meals should consist of and the cost.
"Food for Kidz" mission is to provide the opportunity to anyone to
package a specially designed, fully nutritious meal, and to distribute
this packet of food to hungry children and their families wherever
crisis has struck and there is an immediate need, she said.
The boxes contain rice, soy flour, dehydrated vegetables, vegan protein
powder and spices which are sealed in industrial-grade plastic bags and
have a shelf life of seven years. The cost per meal is 15 cents and
there are 36 bags in a box. Each bag is able to feed six people,
therefore one box costing $32.40 can feed a child for seven months.
"I volunteer because I wanted to find something that I could do to help
other people," said Baumgartem, who's been with "Food for Kidz" 10
years. I thought I'd be busy one night a week, within a 50-mile radius,
and it has turned into a wonderful fulltime job."
Karl Main, who has coordinated the event the last two years, is a
military missionary with Cadence International and a member of Grace
Bible Fellowship Church. He's been serving the Luke community for nearly
"We do this to help Airmen. Men and women have expressed a desire to
give of themselves and their time to help needy people around the
world," he said.
The humanitarian project was a base-wide event bringing Airmen together
from every group and affiliation of the 944th Fighter Wing as well as
the 56th FW, according to organizers.
"I decided to volunteer for this event because I have a soft spot for
children and hungry babies make me want to help," said Senior Airman
Leslie Eccles, 56th Operations Support Squadron. "It's good to see how
we are trying to help over there."