Soup for the Soul en­lists Marines for most re­cent food give­away

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By MIKE URSERY murs­ery@ches­pub.com

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.

PHOTO BY MIKE URSERY

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.

PHOTO BY MIKE URSERY

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.

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