All hands on deck: HMCS St. John's crew helps hand out meals to people experiencing homelessness
HALIFAX -- Moving 3,000 pounds of food is no easy task, but every month, the crew of HMCS St. John’s and Freedom Kitchen put all hands on deck to make it happen.
Last October, Freedom Kitchen, a volunteer kitchen based out of Lower Sackville, N.S., received a giant shipment of donated food.
They made it known that they needed help, and the crew of HMCS St. John’s answered the call of duty.
"Without them, we would struggle," said Freedom Kitchen co-chair Rainie Murphy, as a group of uniformed navy personnel unloaded food behind her. "To find volunteers available that early in the morning on Monday was really hard."
Murphy says the crew is efficient when they show up to help.
"They take over, they do the whole thing," she said. "They just go out there and say 'we're here to accept' and they do it from there."
The partnership had humble beginnings, starting as a result of a personal favour.
"Rainie gave me a call because she knew I had a pickup truck," said Roger Dollimount, Petty Officer 1st Class with HMCS St. John's. "She then asked me if I knew anyone else with a truck, so I thought of the people at HMCS St. John’s, and I said ‘yeah I know a few people with trucks, I’ll give them a call and see what I can do.'"
Dollimount says the crew eagerly took the opportunity to help, and they now have five trucks to use.
"She mentioned that it happens every month, so I asked my team to come in, and we could do this every month," said Dollimount. "They jumped on the chance to do it and agreed – so now every month for the foreseeable future we’re going to be coming out here and helping Freedom Kitchen."
Murphy says Freedom Kitchen serves meals to people experience homelessness and hunger in Lower Sackville and nearby, regularly serving around 400 people.