By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2011 – When Defense Department organizers for Feds Feed Families were tasked with garnering 733,800 pounds of donated food this summer, friendly competition went viral in the department and military services.
To help meet DOD’s designated goal in three months, Washington Headquarters Services started a Feds Feed Families local “Cover the Map” competition, pitting the services and Defense components against one another for most of this week.
“I appreciate the energy, the devotion from so many of you toward the cause of helping others,” said WHS Director Bill Brazis, who called today’s event “our local culmination of the national Feds Feed Families campaign.”
Brazis told the many volunteers and guests that all federal employees have chosen, in some manner, to work in public service.
“We wanted to work for causes greater than ourselves,” he said. “Participation in the campaign and the spirit of healthy competition in the Pentagon is just another affirmation of the spirit of generosity of the defense work force.”
The goal was to raise donations for hungry families within the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
At the end of competition week today in the Pentagon’s courtyard, a giant metro-area map rolled out on the courtyard floor lay covered with food staples in cans, tins and boxes lined up within the borders of the metro area map.
An ongoing deluge of food continued to pour in, filling past the map’s borders, and spilling out onto the sidewalk until the winners were announced.
A tally board on the stage kept track of DOD and service donations.
The spirit of giving didn’t stop until the final count in the competition began.
“People were showing up with large contributions, and even some in shopping carts,” said Kawanza Yates, a WHS communications officer.
Today’s outpouring followed several days of workers filing past a tally board set up inside the Pentagon that showed how much each of the components had contributed. People walked by and saw that their service was behind another, and returned with lots of nonperishables, Yates said.
“People responded in a huge way,” said Pat Tamburrino Jr., deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy.
Michael Rhodes, director of administration and management, also known as the “Pentagon mayor,” presented the awards. They are:
-First place: Office of the Secretary of Defense — 2,265 pounds
-Second place: Army — 1,218 pounds
-Third place: Navy and Marine Corps — 1,117 pounds
-Fourth place: Air Force — 551 pounds, and
-Fifth place: Joint Staff — 236 pounds.
Organizers say they expect a fourth year of the national Feds Feed Families, and hope for a second year of the “Cover the Map” competition.