Cannon Airmen’s food drive could feed hundreds

By Janet Bresenham, Freedom New Mexico

A recent trial community service project at Cannon Air Force Base will mean that hundreds of men, women and children in the local surrounding communities will have a lot more of the food they need.

The Air Force Sergeants Association Chapter 1255 spent three weeks collecting canned food and other food items for the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, which is based in Clovis, according to Senior Master Sgt. Maria A. Lacuesta-Siroin, superintendent of the 27th Special Operations Comptroller Squadron.

“The drive was a complete success,” said Lacuesta-Siroin, who also serves as president of the AFSA Chapter 1255. “Within three weeks, our organization collected 556 pounds of food items.”

Officials estimate the food items collected will serve hundreds of families across the six counties served by the local Food Bank, whose service area spans 19,648 miles.

The food drive, which ended on March 20, began on Feb. 27, Lacuesta-Siroin said. It was the first food drive organized by the AFSA’s local chapter, she added.

“This event was a trial community service project,” she said. “We have plans under way to engage in at least one community service project every quarter.”

The chapter’s project for next quarter will be an aluminum can drive to benefit the local Habitat for Humanity.

Airman 1st Class John Encomienda, who serves as activity coordinator for the AFSA Chapter 1255, and Airman Natalie McLeod with the 27th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron built and placed 12 boxes at various locations on base for the food drive.

The airmen initially built only six boxes but quickly had to construct and place six more around base due to the overwhelming success of the drive, officials said.

The food drive collection boxes, decorated with funding from the AFSA, were strategically placed around base, including locations in the BX lobby, the base Chapel and several key buildings, according to Encomienda.

Organizers hope to have another food drive sometime in the summer or fall.