Serving up joy at Jubilee Soup Kitchen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Beth Kobily
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

This is the time of year for traditions – annual decorations, holiday meals, gift-giving and more are on the minds of many. This year the 911th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron started a new tradition, one of giving back to the community.


On December 11, 2017, members of the 911th AES travelled across the city to volunteer at Jubilee Soup Kitchen, a nonprofit organization geared towards caring for anyone who walks in their doors.


The volunteer effort was coordinated by Master Sgt. Joe Vergona, flight chief of clinical management for the 911th AES, as a way to get Airmen in his squadron to help out in the community.


“I think it is very important to show our Airmen the value of getting out there to volunteer and assist organizations that help people in our communities,” said Vergona. “Seeing the eagerness of our younger Airmen to help out makes me feel a sense of pride - especially knowing that they wanted to do this. They wanted to go out in the community, and that’s a great feeling.”


Vergona coordinated with Heather Rizzo, kitchen manager with Jubilee Soup Kitchen. Rizzo has worked with the kitchen performing various duties for 21 years and counting.


“I like to give back to people,” said Rizzo, who works six days a week with the nonprofit.


While at the kitchen, volunteers cut vegetables, prepared lunch options, unloaded and organized a shipment of food, cleaned the kitchen, served a meal and cleaned up after lunch was finished.


"I was in and out during the day, but from what I got to experience with you guys it was very nice having you here,” said Rizzo. “I just wish I had a chance to talk to yinz (sic) and learn a little bit about your field.”


Vergona said that he expects many more opportunities to work with Heather and her team in the future. He’d like to make volunteering a regular event in the squadron, getting a group together to go out into the community a few times a month.


“I feel like we get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget that there are people out there who aren't as fortunate,” said Staff Sgt. Mindy Johnson, aeromedical evacuation technician with the 911th AES. “The holiday season is a good time of year to give back, help others and to be thankful for what you and your family have. Although the holiday season is a good time to give back, it is important that all year round you remember others and help out if and when possible.”