SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras, –
Nearly 150 Joint Task Force-Bravo personnel hiked three miles Oct. 22, to deliver food to people living in an isolated village near Comayagua, Honduras.
JTF-Bravo Army, Air force, and Navy hikers carried 125 bags of food in backpacks, as part of a bi-monthly Chapel Hike to help their neighbors in El Sitio.
"The entire town welcomed us with applause as each group of hikers arrived," said Chaplain (Capt.) Mark Williams, JTF-Bravo Command Chaplain. "I heard a lady say, '"God bless you,"' to a hiker as he handed over a bag of food."
The bags contained enough food to feed a family for one week and included dried beans, rice, cooking oil, salt, sugar, corn flour, cookies and coffee.
"When I handed them the food I could see in their faces that they were really appreciative; I even got a hug," said Chastity Ramirez, from the JTF-Bravo finance office.
The parents of the village called El Sitio, meaning the city, make a living by growing coffee, corn and oranges and don't always make enough to thrive.
"It's been a humbling experience," said Master Sgt. Bridget Sleppy, from JTF-Bravo logistics. "They survive on a week what we have in a day; I don't think we always appreciate what we have."
Soccer balls, a bicycle pump, and three piñatas were also offered to the children of the village.
"They were excited and clearly anticipating hitting the piñatas to receive the candy," said 1st Sgt. Veronica Tovar, the Chapel Hike coordinator. "The children showed good character because the older kids were giving the younger kids the candy."
The families who received the humanitarian aid were selected by the president of El Sitio and the town officials.
"Based on the number of people we have signed up and the amount of donations that have come in, we asked the leaders to select 125 families who have the greatest need," said Chaplain Williams. "In this way, we make sure the aid gets to the right people who need it the most."