GROTON, Conn. – Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London Sailors volunteered to help pack Thanksgiving meal boxes in support of the base’s Caring and Sharing Program, Nov. 19-20.

The program is held annually to help make the holidays a little easier and happier for local military families in need. As part of the program, Sailors set up a collection bin at the SUBASE New London Commissary where shoppers could purchase non-perishable food items to donate, or offer a monetary contribution.

“The Caring and Sharing program is a charity that we run here on the base that can supply any active duty service member with a meal for Thanksgiving or Christmas,” said Navy Diver 1st Class Ryan Murphy, who coordinated the program this year. “It’s usually about the same contents for both meals, but we have turkey for Thanksgiving and ham for Christmas. It’s a 100 percent volunteer run program and it’s been super successful this year. We’re looking at close to 180 or 190 families we will be able to provide holiday meals for.”

A week before Thanksgiving, volunteer Sailors from numerous tenant commands meet at SUBASE New London’s Bledsoe Hall to assemble the meal boxes. On Thursday morning, they folded the boxes with assembly line efficiency, and then on Friday they filled the boxes with everything needed for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

“We’re putting together food boxes for families in need,” said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Aviana Nash as she packed a box with goods. “We have mashed potatoes, cranberries, stuffing and gravy. This is my first command and my first year doing this. It’s cool to take part.”

In the space of two hours, more than a dozen volunteers helped packed 191 meal boxes for military families.

Donations for the Christmas holiday are being accepted until Dec. 11. For more information about the Caring and Sharing program, contact (860) 694-2073.

Connecticut Media Group