YOKOSUKA, Japan -- Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) Chapel of Hope is helping Yokosuka families by sponsoring shopping assistance due to the current shelter in place/restriction of movement base-wide policies.
The Samaritan Shoppers Program is a cooperative venture between the Chapel of Hope and the Defense Commissary Agency designed to connect volunteers with neighbors that need help grocery shopping such as families of deployed spouses or single parent families.
“Standing in a long line with young children can be almost impossible and for those that can't shop, commands must take care of grocery and feeding responsibilities,” said Capt. Philip King, CFAY’s command chaplain. “This program connects good faith volunteers to people with a genuine need, and allows neighbors in the community to support one another.”
One of the developers of the program, Camia Duhon, CFAY’s Catholic director of religious education, said the program is an important way to provide support during a difficult time.
“During the pandemic when there is so much unknown and fear, this is the time when we have to take care of each other most,” said Duhon. “I feel strongly that we have an obligation to support hard working spouses now raising kids and taking care of families alone.”
Volunteers said they felt it was important to help their fellow community members.
"There are many families here with young children that can't get out, and if they get out, standing in line patiently maintaining social distancing can be a real challenge,” said Cindy van Dijk, a volunteer for the Samaritan Shopper Program.
“We can't run quick errands with social distancing and this effort to reach out and help one another is part of our ethic of serving, not just as good neighbors, but as part of a greater community," added van Dijk.
King said the Samaritan Shoppers Program brings many benefits to Fleet Activities Yokosuka.
“It is mission enhancing to demonstrate physical support of one another during the crisis,” said King. “People feel less alone, and volunteers get to make the world a better place by providing a vital service for another.”
For 75 years, CFAY has provided, maintained, and operated base facilities and services in support of the U.S. 7th Fleet's forward-deployed naval forces, tenant commands, and thousands of military and civilian personnel and their families.