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Inside the Gates: Air National Guardsmen pitch in to feed the hungry

Twice a week, guardsmen volunteer at the Five Loaves Two Fish Kitchen in Wasilla to help prepare meals for people in need
Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 11:25 AM AKST
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WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - During the pandemic, food pantries have been busy getting meals out to people in need.

In Wasilla, Alaska Air National Guardsmen are pitching in at the Five Loaves Two Fish Kitchen. They help with food prep from peeling potatoes to cutting carrots and celery.

“It’s definitely testing our knife skills but we were trained in this so it’s just another day in the office for us,” said Services Specialist Allen Wilson

Senior Master Sergeant Franz Deters said they’re happy to help with the busywork.

“Sometimes the easiest stuff is the most mundane and that’s what we want to take away from people that come down here and they’re pitching in,” Deters said.

The kitchen serves about 600 meals a month to organizations like My House and Knik House that work with homeless teens in the Mat-Su Valley.

Duane Hanson, the kitchen management chair, said they’re happy to have the extra hands helping with the work.

“It’s more activity when we have the National Guard in but they’ve been great workers. We can line them out and they’ll do their stuff and we can go on and get other things done,” Hanson said.

Deters said it’s important for servicemen and women to give back to people in need. Even if it’s slicing Brussels sprouts, every little bit helps to serve a greater cause to feed the hungry.

“The guard we’re known for being always ready and always there and that’s showcased when we come out here and do that because we’re part of our community,” he said. "Coming out here and getting in the kitchen actually helps us with our wartime readiness and what we do on a day to day basis. So it’s a win-win for both.

The pandemic has exposed a need for more resources to help people who are struggling. Air National Guardsmen said volunteering in the kitchen is even more important now so those people know they won’t go hungry.

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