Let the food drive begin! Published Nov. 14, 2019 By Airman 1st Class China M. Shock 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs 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.