By Zachary Daum
On Monday, June 12, the 375th Logistic Readiness Squadron loaded over 84,000 pounds of rice onto a C-17 aircraft, with the intent of transporting it to Port au Prince, Haiti. This rice was donated by “Feed my Starving Children” in collaboration with Orphans International Help Line to the United States Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance Program. This rice will go towards feeding nearly 4000 children in Haiti who are without food.
“Feed my Starving Children” is a non-profit based out of Schaumburg, Illinois and their mission states that they are, “dedicated to seeing every child whole in body and spirit.” FMSC works with food distribution partners that stay with communities for the long haul, empowering them to move from relief to development.
Senior Airman Wagner of the 375th was the load team chief of the operation and he was there to make sure work was done in both a timely and efficient manner. Wagner explained the details of where the rice would go after it left Scott Air Force Base and the process involved in sending food through the Denton Program. “(The C-17) is going back to Charleston for now and then they have to find the air lift (to get it to Haiti.) As far as air transporting cargo it’s a lower priority. It’s a big deal but we are moving things like human blood so we have to find something called opportune airlift. It’ll go to Charleston, sit there for a few days and once they find the opportunity, it will make its way to Haiti. There’s nearly 5000 people this rice is going to feed. We do this about once or twice a year. More active ports do this every single day. Previous examples are we’ve sent firetrucks and ambulances to Peru and Guatemala.”
The United States Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance Program was started as a way to use Department of Defense resources to assist areas throughout the world who are dealing with a wide variety of issues such as a lack of food sources or poverty-stricken areas.
This program, also known as the Denton Program, provides humanitarian relief to places all over the world. The Denton Program’s website states, “the Secretary of Defense may transport to any country, without charge, supplies which have been furnished by a non-governmental source and which are intended for humanitarian assistance. Such supplies may be transported only on a space available basis.” The actual transportation portion of this program is contractually managed by USTRANSCOM (US Department of Defense is the United States Transportation Command) utilizing a contractor operating out of Joint Base Charleston, SC.
This means that although the rice will be transported soon to Haiti for children who need it, it will first sit at Joint Base Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina until space on a vehicle is available on an aircraft to move it to Haiti.