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Let the food drive begin!

Hailey Smits, the 35th Fighter Wing Pantry coordinator, pauses for a photo at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2019. Active duty members and their families can pick up 10 non-perishable, shelf-stable and non-expired packing food items at no cost each month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class China M. Shock)

Hailey Smits, the 35th Fighter Wing Pantry coordinator, pauses for a photo at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2019. Active duty members and their families can pick up 10 non-perishable, shelf-stable and non-expired packing food items at no cost each month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class China M. Shock)

A pyramid of canned goods sit on a cabinet at the 35th Fighter Wing Pantry at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Nov. 1, 2019. The food pantry offers canned goods, giving active duty members and their families the opportunity to stock up on essential food items for free. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class China M. Shock)

A pyramid of canned goods sits on a cabinet at the Misawa Pantry at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Nov. 1, 2019. The food pantry offers canned goods to members of all rank, giving active duty members and their families the opportunity to stock up on essential food items for free. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class China M. Shock)

A line of canned goods sits on a shelf at the 35th Fighter Wing Pantry at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Nov. 1, 2019. The food pantry aids in community cohesion, while also providing convenient goods needed for base personnel’s readiness and sustainability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class China M. Shock)

A line of canned goods sits on a shelf at the 35th Fighter Wing Pantry at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Nov. 1, 2019. The food pantry aids in community cohesion, while also providing convenient goods needed for base personnel’s readiness and sustainability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class China M. Shock)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --

U.S. Air Force veteran Hailey Smits, the 35th Fighter Wing pantry coordinator, gives back to the Misawa Air Base community by volunteering her time at the food pantry.

In hopes of spreading light and joy during the season of giving, The First Four, Seabees at the Public Works Department and Smits are organizing a Misawa Pantry Holiday Drive, Nov. 15 through Dec. 15.

“With the holidays quickly approaching, we ask for donations to support our Airmen” explained Smits. “We appreciate the support and thoughtfulness from our donors who put the needs of our Airmen as a priority during this season.”

Bins for donation will be located at the Commissary, Shoppette, Potter Fitness Center and Child Development Center.

The 35th Fighter Wing Pantry Program provides the Team Misawa community with 10 free items a month, per family, no exclusions! Items include beans, canned goods, pasta, soups and condiments.

Smits urged community members not only to donate but also to utilize it when needed.

“This program gives Team Misawa members a safe place to grab essential items,” expressed Kimberly Henderson, the Misawa AB Thrift Shop manager. “The food pantry continues to make community outreach and engagement a top priority by having free food readily available for active duty members and their dependents.”

The pantry collects non-perishables, diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, household items, baking supplies and many other items. Opened, expired and used items are not accepted.

“I urge everyone to take advantage of this program,” explained Henderson. “This is a great avenue to take advantage of.”

This food pantry aids in community cohesion, while also providing convenient goods needed for base personnel’s readiness and sustainability.

“I want to get the word out, in hopes of attracting donators and shoppers,” expressed Smits. “I want to encourage everyone to donate during this food drive because your donations provide to those Airmen who are in need.”

The pantry, located at the thrift shop, is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the first and third Saturdays of the month, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The wing pantry located inside the Misawa Thrift Store, building 1953, will also be accepting donations. Donations are accepted, but items must be brought inside to a staff member for food safety purposes.