FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. – --
The process to a permanent change of station with family, especially in the middle of a pandemic, can be an arduous one, including the usual stressors of housing, childcare, and spousal employment.
The last thing any family wants to worry about is where their next meal is coming from.
“On the heels of the COVID-19 crisis, many spouses lost their jobs or had to leave their jobs; times were tough for families,” said Devon Dipoma, Fairchild Food Pantry co-founder and former volunteer. “When I asked if there was a food pantry on base and there wasn’t one, I reached out to the Force Support Squadron to get started.”
Dipoma and her family had been stationed at other bases that offered a Food Pantry for Airmen, a place where active duty, National Guardsmen, dependents, and retirees can pick up non-perishable food items, toiletries, diapers, cleaning supplies, and more at no cost.
Dipoma and some of Fairchild’s leadership spouses got approval to start Fairchild’s Food Pantry, and the rest is history.
“I am sometimes overwhelmed with emotion when I see where the Food Pantry has come,” Dipoma said. “To know that our Airmen are so cared for and to see so many people contributing to make sure food insecurity is not a problem on Fairchild makes me so proud to be an Air Force spouse and makes me so proud to be associated with the Air Force.”
Airmen in the dorms and young families benefit the most from the food pantry.
“We have a younger demographic than other bases, so the families here tend to be a little less established,” Dipoma said.
The Food Pantry is volunteer-run, and the bulk of donations have been from the Fairchild community through food and toiletry drives and private donations.
“The volunteers here are incredible,” Dipoma said. “We have a wide variety of volunteers, and they’re all just wonderful giving up their time and working hard. It’s just a positive place to be.”
The Food Pantry recently celebrated one year of serving the Team Fairchild community.
“I think knowing that your community is looking out for you and cares enough to make sure that groceries don’t have to be the thing on your budget that goes, does a world of good,” Dipoma said. “To know that your community supports you and wants to make sure you and yours don’t go hungry is a beautiful thing.”
The Food Pantry's first year of being open served over 180 Fairchild families and gave out over 7,500 items.
"I'm so thankful for the Fairchild Food Pantry,” said a Fairchild Food Pantry visitor. “I have two kids in diapers, so when there is a package of baby wipes, that is a blessing to my family. The ability to use the food pantry has made our life so much easier this last year. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts."
The Fairchild Food Pantry is open Monday from 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 11a.m.- 1p.m., and the first Saturday of the month from 11a.m. to 1p.m.
For more information on the Fairchild Food Pantry visit their Facebook page @FairchildFoodPantry.