NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. â€” At the corner of G Street and McWilliams Avenue in Las Vegas, 45 Nellis Airmen prepare hot meals and serve cold water to a growing line of people stretching two blocks towards Interstate 15.
For the volunteers, whether setting up, preparing food, or listening to their stories, it is all about giving back to the local community.
â€œAny opportunity we get to help families or individuals in need is very appreciated by the community,â€ said Senior Master Sgt. Edward Story, 57th Maintenance Group Top-3 member, who helps organize the event every month. â€œThere are many people who suffer due to various circumstances in their lives that often can result in becoming homeless.â€
The Nellis Top-3 served spaghetti noodles, green beans, dinner rolls, cookies, candy, and water to about 350 residents during the event.
â€œThe Feed the Homeless Drive is now sponsored by a unit or squadron every month,â€ Story said. â€œThe idea was first presented to the Top-3 by Senior Master Sgt. Richard Buchalski, who was already donating his personal time toward supporting some of the homeless shelters and parish sites. The idea was well received by the members.â€
Senior Master Sgt. Richard Buchalski, 820th RED HORSE Squadron airborne flight superintendent, explains what inspired the idea for the Feed the Homeless Drive.
â€œLate one evening, I volunteered to help my wife and others serve food and water to the less fortunate. When I arrived at the shelter I was taken aback by the selfless giving Las Vegas patrons gave to our local community.â€
â€œI was then informed by the volunteers that the last Monday of the month was the most crucial, since whatever support they received, whether food or money, was completely used,â€ said Buchalski.
After the realization the community was involved in the endeavor, Buchalski coordinated with the Top-3 to have Nellis Airmen offer their help to the cause.
â€œAlthough we had to deal with a learning curve in the beginning, such as how to fund the events, what type of food to distribute, what kind of drinks to hand out, and what type of clothing to give, it has worked itself out to a smooth-running process,â€ Buchalski said.
Nellis Airmen have been supporting the event for the past three months. So far, the 820th RED HORSE Squadron, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron, 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and the 57th Maintenance Group have each volunteered.
â€œAirmen have welcomed the program with open arms, and we have setup a system for organizations to volunteer a month at a time on the last Monday of the month,â€ said Buchalski.
Buchalski says the drive provides Airmen the opportunity to make a difference.
â€œWe as military members are provided everything institutionally and receive a guaranteed paycheck,â€ said Buchalski. â€œThe local population in Las Vegas does not have this guarantee.â€