Although the war in Afghanistan is winding down, we still have troops deployed.
And these men and women, particularly those on the front line, still need us.
One effect of the troop drawdown is many of the FOBs - forward operating bases - have stopped serving hot breakfasts to troops, many of whom work 12-hour shifts. Most affected are the troops who go on duty at midnight, and those who end their shifts then.
Let us emphasize that they are not necessarily going hungry -the military is substituting "Meals Ready to Eat" in lieu of the cooked meals the troops previously received.
MREs are nutritionally complete and include an entree, a side dish, beverage and, usually, a dessert. MREs offer an adequate amount of calories and, according to returning veterans we know, some don't taste too bad.
But "hot chow" -such a little luxury- MREs are not.
The hot meal reductions began in January with what some have called "the drawdown diet" expanding this month to include the elimination of Marine "midrats" -hot midnight breakfast and dinner rations- as well as the 24-hour sandwich bar at Camp Leatherneck, according to press reports.
The men and women serving overseas probably view the hot meal cutbacks as just another sacrifice.
We, though, think it's an unnecessary one.
In fact, it makes us wince.
For those who would like to help make things a little more palatable for those serving, the Military Support Group of Lee Memorial Health System is collecting goods for care packages.
We think this is a wonderful idea.
The support group received a letter from Camp Spann asking for help with their pantry and "any assist from the community would be greatly appreciated," drive organizers said.
According to a release from the group, the following items have been requested:
- Single serving instant oatmeal and breakfast foods
- Drink mixes, singles are preferred
- Coffee whole bean or ground small bags
- "Energy drinks" such as Red Bull, V8, Monsters, Gatorade (small sizes, please)
- Gloves, colors preferred: black or neutral colors
Items can be dropped at various locations. The closest location to the Beach is HealthPark Medical Center at the corner of Summerlin and Bass roads. The Guest Services Department is located on the first floor. Call 343-5210 for more information.
Other locations to drop off items for our military personnel include
- Cape Coral Hospital Human Resources (south end of Hospital near doctor's offices) Benefits, 424-3500.
- Fountain Court/College Parkway, Pat Dolce, System Press & Publication, 454-8766.
- Gulfcoast Hospital Elaine, Administration, 1st floor, 343-0430
- Lee Memorial Hospital, June or Dustin in Central Services, 3rd Floor MOB, 343-2812.
- Santa Barbara Campus Central Business Office, 242-6038