MOORESTOWN — It was a day to help the hungry. It was a day to help military families. It was Lockheed Martin’s Military Day of Caring.
Dozens of volunteers got a chance to not only provide for the less fortunate, but they also got a history lesson about the military and how it serves New Jersey.
On Wednesday, the defense contractor hosted the special event at its complex off Borton Landing Road as part of its “Be the Difference, Volunteer, Donate” campaign, in conjunction with the company’s month of giving.
In two shifts, employees could donate to the Food Bank of South Jersey in Pennsauken; take part in Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit, by stuffing holiday stockings for military families; check out the mobile Armed Forces Heritage Museum; and even get a photo taken with the Armed Forces Bowl trophy.
Jim Sheridan, general manager and vice president at Lockheed Martin, was thrilled to see so many employees taking part.
“One thing is important to realize. While we support the troops and obviously are proud to provide capability to them, the families are also in need of support,” Sheridan said. “Folks go on deployment, the families are home, so everybody kind of serves. It’s important for us to give back, help them out, and it’s great having partnerships with Operation Homefront and other organizations.”
In no time, employees from several departments managed to stuff 400 holiday stockings with treats and gifts for youngsters who live at Joint Base McGuire-Dix Lakehurst.
Tina Seeling, a member of a military and veterans employee resource group at Lockheed Martin, can’t imagine how difficult it is to have a loved one who is deployed.
“A lot of little kids miss their mommies and daddies,” Seeling said while filling a stocking. “This is the least we can do to help them out. They do so much for us.”
Across the room, several people were writing holiday cards for the troops that will be attached to the stockings.
“It’s the right thing to do. It’s for Christmastime,” said Mirna Pagan, a video conference technician at the facility. “We want to thank our people who are serving.”
The day included a visit by the mobile museum, a 32-foot trailer that features living-history videos of local veterans and those still on active duty, as well as a virtual education about the military in the state.
Roy Plummer, a museum board member, said the trailer began traveling around the state in June with a mission to preserve, honor and educate people on the military history of New Jersey and surrounding areas.
“There’s a story to be told here, and we feel we have the ability and passion to tell it,” Plummer said.
And to give a little extra, employees dug into their pockets to buy raffle tickets to benefit the food bank, for a chance to win parking passes, or Philadelphia 76ers and Trans-Siberian Orchestra tickets.
The cause is a critical one.
“We are feeding almost 200,000 people in South Jersey on a yearly basis,” said Lisa Sherwin, strategic partnerships and special events manager with the Food Bank of South Jersey.