Soup for the Soul enlists Marines for most recent food giveaway
Soup for the Soul donated food to those in need for the sixth time in 2020, and was joined by a few proud volunteers this time.
Brandon Butler, a recent graduate of Dundalk High School, helped unload a tractor trailer full of food to be given to those in need on Aug. 10 at Dundalk United Methodist Church. He was joined by his recruiter, United States Marine Corps Sgt. Edwin Cracraft. They, along with SSgt. Kennique Braxton, offloaded several pallets of food to be handed out.
“[We’re here] to help better the community, and to give back a little bit,” Cracraft said. “Marines, when we go to an area we leave it better than the way we found it.”
“We’ve come here today to help young Americans find their futures, so why not give back to the rest of the community if we have the time and ability.”
Stacey Nagel, the director of Soup for the Soul, has a soft spot in her heart for the US Marine Corps. Her son finished recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, nearly three years ago. He is currently stationed at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Nagel said she and her husband run a support group for
Marines and Marine Corps parents called Towson Family Support Marines. “This just happens to be the group of people we work with every week,” Nagel said, referring to the recruiters from Recruiting Sub-Station Dundalk.
“We help them when it’s time to send their poolees off to Parris Island. We help get the guys ready for MEPS (Military Enlistment Processing Station). We give them care packages when they go to the hotel. A lot of these are Dundalk kids, so we try and keep up. We try to help them out
as much as possible.”
Nagel said that Towson Family Support Marines continue to keep up with poolees after they become recruits. Parents will contact the organization and tell them what their recruit needs while at recruit training.
Nagel said she presented the idea for Marines to volunteer at Soup for the Soul a while ago. She was happy to see them assisting those with food insecurity on Aug. 10.
“I think it’s awesome,” Nagel said. “Every time they’ve had time to come, with [COVID-19] it just hasn’t worked out. Of course, today, on a hot day, they’re here. Usually when I ask for anything, they reach right out and are very willing to comply.
Butler currently plans to be a field artillery cannoneer after he graduates from recruit training. He does not yet know the date he will ship to the US Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island. Cracraft said that due to COVID-19, many procedures have greatly changed. One of those is the volume of travel to and from Parris Island.
Military recruiters have had to adapt after the COVID-19 pandemic came to the United States. The need for things like social distancing caused several American workers to switch to teleworking strategies to accomplish tasks. Recruiters have had to do the same.
The US Army was the first military branch to shut down public access to its 1,400 recruiting stations. This happened on March 18. On March 25, the US Marine Corps did the same, Recruiting efforts were moved entirely to virtual platforms.
SSgt. Rashid Wilson, who works at the Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Rosedale, said that Marine Corps recruiters have mostly moved to virtual platforms. Recruiters will still do home visits, but will enter a home wearing a mask and maintain social distancing.
Marine recruiters mainly use Zoom, Wilson said. The US Marine Corps and other branches have good rapport with local public schools and even enter schools to give presentations about their respective branches. This will not be an option until at least February of next year.
Baltimore County Public Schools recently made a decision to have all of its public schools reopen virtually. Students will learn through virtual platforms until at least Jan. 29. Wilson said that this is a challenge, but he and other Marines are exploring ways to adapt. One idea is to put the US Marine Corps into the school newsletter.
The willingness of Marines like Braxton and Cracraft to volunteer at Soup for the Soul makes one thing clear – ask the Marines when help is needed.
Brandon Butler, who graduated from Dundalk High School earlier this year, joined his Marine Corps recruiters on Aug. 10 to volunteer at Soup for the Soul. This is the sixth time Soup for the Soul has done a food giveaway in 2020.
A tractor-trailer full of food is offloaded at Dundalk United Methodist Church on Mornington Road. Soup for the Soul had a little help from two Marine Corps recruiters and a recent Dundalk High School graduate who will ship to Marine Corps Recruit Training some time later this year.