Share the Joy bringing holiday spirit to junior ranks
From right, Tech. Sgt. AnnaBelle White, Senior Master Sgt. Mauree Powell, Senior Master Sgt. Patricia Hare, Airman 1st Class Kimberly Strickland and Tech. Sgt. Mark Chandler pack boxes with groceries at Maxwell Commissary Nov. 15 as part of Share the Joy. The boxes were delivered to Airmen Nov. 16. (Air Force photo/Bennett Rock)
Share the Joy bringing holiday spirit to junior ranks

by Kimberly L. Wright
Air University Public Affairs

11/24/2010 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Base personnel are steadily working to make sure this holiday season is a cheerful time for junior ranks and their dependents.

Share the Joy provides food baskets during Thanksgiving and Christmas. These baskets are filled with everything needed for a holiday meal, from turkey and dressing to dessert fixings -- about $40 worth of groceries.

In addition, the Angel Tree program, also managed by the Share the Joy committee, will make sure Santa visits the children of junior-ranked Airmen, said committee member Tech. Sgt. Walter L. Harris, Combat Ammunition System section chief.

Angel Tree gifts will be delivered alongside the Christmas baskets. Once requests are collected, the Angel Tree points of contact, Master Sgt. Shannon Fleeting for Maxwell and Sergeant Harris for Gunter, will distribute the requests to those interested in purchasing gifts. Angel Tree gifts will be collected until Dec. 6 and can be dropped off at the Honor Guard Hangar, building 842, at Maxwell or building 888, room 2061, at Gunter.

Eighty-four food baskets were delivered last week for Thanksgiving, and an additional 84 will be delivered Dec. 14 for Christmas -- 168 baskets in all, as well as nine gift cards valued at $35 each for the geographically separated units, said Master Sgt. Jennifer Laufer, superintendent of chapel operations.

Maxwell-Gunter's Top 3 Association leads this program, working in concert with the First Sergeant Council. They have been helped in the past by donations from the Chapel, Chief's Group, First Sergeants Council, unit booster clubs, spouses' clubs, schools and other organizations and individuals. First sergeants gave the committee a list of recommended Airmen, primarily in grades E-1 through E-4, for these programs.

Sergeant Laufer felt honored to help organize this year's program.

"I wanted to be a part of it because I was a single parent when I was an Airman, and I received help during the holidays," she said. "When you've been part of something, you just want to give back."

Master Sgt. Steven Delozier, non-commissioned officer in charge of Air University Public Affairs, was one of the Airmen who helped assemble Thanksgiving baskets Nov. 15. He said he enjoyed assisting fellow Airmen with projects like this and care packages to deployed servicemembers.

"I like getting out and helping out every once in a while," he said. "It sounds cliché, but it's really just a way to help people out during the holidays."

Sergeant Harris recommended that potential donors wishing to Share the Joy contact Senior Master Sgt. Mauree Powell, Air University Headquarters first sergeant, at 953-7536. Funds not used this year will be used for next year's program.

For more information regarding the food baskets, contact Sergeant Laufer at 953-2109 or Airman 1st Class Kimberly Strickland at 953-2152.

Questions regarding this year's Angel Tree program can be directed to either Sergeant Fleeting at 953-9043 or Sergeant Harris at 416-3197.