On Tuesday, an assembly line was set up to move the boxes from the delivery truck into a large walk-in cooler at the base.
Charlie Hatten, coordinator of the Military Family Ministry of the Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County, said they originally started the program when troops were being deployed ten years ago. The meals would go to the families of the military personnel serving overseas. The idea was to have the family and relatives gather together for the meal and then call their loved one overseas. Now they are doing 100 meals a year.
Some of the same groups in the community that donate the meals also sponsor military children at Christmas time. This is one of many programs the Associated Churches has, including giving soldiers some assistance with gas, utilities, and housing issues.
“It’s important we support our troops; they are supporting us,” Hatten said,
Hatten said both he and Roger Reece, Executive Pastor of Associated Churches, are veterans, so they understand how important it can be to ease the burdens over the holidays for troops.
Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County was founded in 1944 and includes 135 churches as members. Its primary ministries include the Neighborhood Food Network, A Baby’s Closet. Rising Stars, and Military Families. In 2011 they provided $5,000 to military families in need.