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Food pantry there for Airmen in need

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- The Airmen's Food Pantry, already an excellent resource for Airmen in need, was recently renovated with new shelves, updated inventory and new management.

Senior Master Sgt. Brian Reel and his wife Lori Reel took on the project after Sergeant Reel volunteered at the Airmen's Food Pantry.

"I had noticed some of the food was out of date and unorganized," said Sergeant Reel. "So I approached my first sergeant about fixing up the food pantry."

"We wanted to make the Airmen's Food Pantry more successful and available to Airmen and their families," said Lori Reel.

The Airmen's Food Pantry is not designed to take the place of grocery shopping, but to provide items such as: diapers, baby food, dry food goods, and condiments, to help service members in need.

In the past, Airmen were allowed one visit to the Airmen's Food Pantry without a referral. Now E-5s and below with at least one dependent can utilize the Airmen's Food Pantry once a month, every month. If more than one visit a month is required, the Airmen's Food Pantry has a referral form that allows up to four additional visits. E-6s and above are allowed to use the Airmen's Food Pantry one time only. Additional visits require a referral, obtained from an immediate supervisor, first sergeant, Family Support Center or Family Advocacy.

The Airmen's Food Pantry receives the majority of its funding from various squadrons and organizations at RAF's Lakenheath and Mildenhall.

"One of the squadrons recently did a food drive for us," said Sergeant Reel. On occasion, service members and their families making a permanent change of station will drop by and donate their leftover food, and recently clubs on base have made monetary donations.

The Airmen's Food Pantry is located in building 651, adjacent to the Airmen's Attic. Opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays, 4 to 7 p.m. Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays. For more information call the Airman's Food Pantry at 226-3794. Donations of time, money or food are always appreciated.

"Volunteers and donations are essential to the survival of the Airmen's Food Pantry," said Sergeant Reel.