Air Force Featured Stories

Hanscom Airmen help feed Boston's homeless

  • Published
  • By Mark Wyatt
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
A dozen local Airmen recently volunteered at the Pine Street Inn to prepare meals for more than 1,600 homeless people at three Boston area shelters.

Led by Master Sgt. Nicholas Souza, a first sergeant assigned to the 66th Air Base Group here, Airmen helped prepare chicken thighs, sausages and sliced vegetables for a Jambalaya stew.

"This is one of the more rewarding volunteer projects I've had the chance to be involved in during my time at Hanscom (AFB)," said Souza, who has organized three volunteers initiatives at the Boston-based organization this year.

In addition to feeding men and women, the organization provides a comprehensive range of services, including permanent supportive housing, job training and placement, emergency shelter, and street outreach to homeless adults each day, according to the Pine Street Inn's website.

Elizabeth Condron, the Pine Street Inn volunteer outreach manager, noted that without volunteers like those from Hanscom AFB, the shelter would be unable to execute its mission to feed homeless individuals daily.

"Hanscom (Airmen have) been coming to Pine Street for more than three years and engaging with us by hosting drives, serving brunch and dinner, and helping prepare food in our kitchen," she said. "In the last three years, we have had more than 75 Hanscom AFB volunteers come to help at Pine Street."

Volunteering for the third time was Airman 1st Class Michele Anderson, a 66th ABG Commander's Support Staff administration specialist.

"I continue to volunteer for this because I love to give back to the community," said Anderson, who cut vegetables during her most recent volunteer trip to the shelter. "It is incredibly rewarding to be able to help others that are in need."

Volunteers from the 319th Recruiting Squadron and 66th ABG prepped more than 500 pounds of chicken thighs, cooked and cut 210 pounds of sausages, and sliced more than 145 pounds of onions and 70 pounds of celery.

In addition to preparing a hot meal, one Hanscom volunteer worked alongside Pine Street staff members to make sandwiches as part of the shelter's street outreach program. Each day, workers leave the Pine Street Inn's headquarters on foot to Boston-area neighborhoods to feed those who don't seek shelter.

"It was so much fun working with the Pine Street Inn's staff making 160 sandwiches," said Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Walter, a 66th ABG education and training NCO in charge. "I asked Master Sgt. Souza that if we have the opportunity to do it again to please include my name."

Souza highlighted that some of the men and women who come through the shelter are veterans, an added incentive for him.

"To have the opportunity to give back in some small way to those men and women who served honorably and faithfully is incredibly rewarding to me," Souza said.