OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --
An open house marking the expansion of the Airman’s Attic food pantry at Offutt Air Force Base took place Feb. 27, 2023.
The Airmen’s Attic has had a small food pantry for many years, but thanks to some local monetary donations and support, its operations have expanded over the past six months or so.
“No matter who you are, you can find yourself in a financial bind,” said Col. Mark Howard, 55th Wing vice commander. “For those of us who are in the military and find themselves in that predicament, this is an amazing resource to help get our service members back on track.”
The expanded food pantry now has more offerings as well as refrigerated and frozen food items for the first time thanks to members of the local community who had found out about the facility and wanted to assist.
“I volunteer at many of the local food banks,” said Margie Smith, Offutt Advisory Council member. “While working, I heard about and saw some Airmen and their families using the South Omaha food bank.”
Smith did some research and learned about the Airman’s Attic food pantry and decided to see what she could do to help.
“As a member of OAC, I felt this project would be perfect to present to the group to fund, volunteer and sustain,” she said.
Thanks to Smith and her fellow OAC members, the food pantry received a $10,000 donation, which was used to purchase a refrigerator, freezer, some new shelving and more food items.
“We are deeply appreciative to the OAC, local businesses and surrounding communities who have worked behind the scenes to make this happen,” Howard said.
The Airman’s Attic is managed and operated by the Offutt Top Three, who are comprised of military members E-7 through E-9.
“I joined [the Air Force] with two kids and had two more on the way very quickly, so before I even put on senior airman, I was heavily using the Airman’s Attic and its food pantry,” said Senior Master Sgt. Chris Herbers, 55th Wing Inspector General office and co-chairman of the Airman’s Attic. “That really instilled in me the sense of community we have in the Air Force and honestly was the reason I chose to stay in.”
The facility is also supported by a group of volunteers, including spouses and community members, who simply want to be there to lend a hand if needed.
“There’s a lot of different influences for people to need help,” said Catina Nesheim, Airman’s Attic’s lead volunteer and spouse of a retired military member. “Maybe they just moved here and now they must pay a deposit, or their spouse was working and are still looking for a job. That kind of thing will influence if they need a little extra, and we’re here for it.”
Regardless of the situation, Herbers said he encourages his fellow Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Guardians to visit the food pantry when they have the need.
“It’s okay to ask for help,” he said. “We are simply taking care of each other.”
The Airman’s Attic is available to all E-6 and below active-duty members and their families. It is open Tuesdays 12-4 p.m., Thursdays 2-6 p.m. and one Saturday a month from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
If you’d like to donate, volunteer or if you have questions, please call (402) 294-3318 or visit the Airman's Attic Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100081947731320.