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Arnold Junior Force Council leads effort in record-setting food donation collection for local families

Stephen Maccarino assists 1st Lt. Karlie Madden in loading one of the food baskets donated as part of the Junior Force Council’s Thanksgiving Food Basket Program. With help from AEDC team members across base, JFC members at Arnold collected donations for 51 food baskets for Coffee County families in need of Thanksgiving meals, surpassing the number of baskets that have been collected in years past. (U.S. Air Force photo by Deidre Ortiz)

Stephen Maccarino assists 1st Lt. Karlie Madden in loading one of the food baskets donated as part of the Junior Force Council’s Thanksgiving Food Basket Program. With help from AEDC team members across base, JFC members at Arnold collected donations for 51 food baskets for Coffee County families in need of Thanksgiving meals, surpassing the number of baskets that have been collected in years past. (U.S. Air Force photo by Deidre Ortiz)

Capt. Jonathon Dias, pictured front, and Master Sgt. Jason Knipe help load baskets of food donated as part of the Thanksgiving Food Basket Program at Arnold Air Force Base. With help from AEDC team members across base, members of the Junior Force Council at Arnold collected donations for 51 food baskets for Coffee County families in need of Thanksgiving meals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Deidre Ortiz)

Capt. Jonathon Dias, pictured front, and Master Sgt. Jason Knipe help load baskets of food donated as part of the Thanksgiving Food Basket Program at Arnold Air Force Base. With help from AEDC team members across base, members of the Junior Force Council at Arnold collected donations for 51 food baskets for Coffee County families in need of Thanksgiving meals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Deidre Ortiz)

Stephen Maccarino, president of the Junior Force Council at Arnold Air Force Base, packs food donations collected as part of the Thanksgiving Food Basket Program. The Thanksgiving Food Basket Program is meant to provide enough food to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for a child’s family. This year enough food for 51 baskets was donated to students of Deerfield Elementary with the help of AEDC team members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Deidre Ortiz)

Stephen Maccarino, president of the Junior Force Council at Arnold Air Force Base, packs food donations collected as part of the Thanksgiving Food Basket Program. The Thanksgiving Food Basket Program is meant to provide enough food to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for a child’s family. This year enough food for 51 baskets was donated to students of Deerfield Elementary with the help of AEDC team members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Deidre Ortiz)

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- With help from AEDC team members across base who donated canned food items, the Arnold Air Force Base Junior Force Council members collected enough donations for 51 food baskets for Coffee County families in need of Thanksgiving meals.

Stephen Maccarino, JFC president, stated that this year’s effort was impressive and thanked everyone who supported the food drive in any way.

“I’d like to thank all our AEDC employees who helped out with the record-setting donation year,” he said. “Together we almost doubled last year’s donation.

“A big part of that was Maj. Virginia Trimble and the Space and Missiles Combined Test Force. They alone gave more than our entire donation from last year. Again, I want to thank Team AEDC for your generosity. I know the kids at Deerfield Elementary were excited to see the donations. I got to help carry a few of the baskets to their parents’ cars.”

The Thanksgiving Food Basket Program effort at Arnold started when organizers of the Coffee County Backpack Program for Deerfield Elementary School reached out to JFC members about collecting specific food items for the holiday.

The Backpack Program is a local charity program that provides food for students who may not have provisions during tough economic times. As part of the program, children in need of food receive a backpack with enough food to feed them throughout the weekend, every weekend during the school year.

As an extension of the Backpack Program, the Thanksgiving Food Basket Program is meant to provide enough food to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for the child's family, including a turkey.
The Junior Force Council at Arnold provides the junior workforce with professional development opportunities and serves as a conduit between the junior workforce and senior leadership at AEDC.