12/28/07 — SJAFB Airmen help at Goldsboro soup kitchen

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SJAFB Airmen help at Goldsboro soup kitchen

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on December 28, 2007 2:07 PM

Tynisha Hill spent much of her Thursday peeling sweet potatoes and serving meals inside a building on Oak Street.

But the Air Force technical sergeant will tell you that the joy that came with feeding hungry Goldsboro residents at the Community Soup Kitchen ran a close second to having her 9-year-old daughter, Dejah, there next to her.

Hill was one of several members of the 4th Fighter Wing's Mission Support Squadron who volunteer at the kitchen, organization director Doricia Benton said.

And the mission of providing at least one meal a day to those in the city who really need it could not happen without them.

"Something about the military -- they go above and beyond," Mrs. Benton said. "They have been doing it for years and years."

It was Dejah's first time.

Her mother smiled when she talked about the importance of learning to serve the community at a young age.

"She's learning that it's better to give than to receive," the manpower analyst said, scoffing at Dejah's attempt to peel a potato. "But I don't know if we're going to have much potato left when she's done."

Across the building, another airman was busy.

Staff Sgt. William Guthery had been cleaning the pantry for hours -- pulling out the shelves and the food, mopping the floor, organizing everything.

It was all about "giving back," the personnel readiness technician said.

"It's nice to experience something new," he said, adding he has done other types of community service projects since his stint at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base began more than a year ago. "I hope (the people who come in) are happy. A good, hot meal always makes me happy."

Taifa Petaway showed up at 9 a.m. to help in "whatever way" she could.

She found her self next to Dejah and her mother for much of morning.

"I just think it's important to serve others," she said.

Apparently, so does the 4th Fighter Wing.

Mrs. Benton said she has seen as many as 20 airmen a week show up along Oak since she stepped into the director seat more than three years ago.

The extra help gives her a chance to sit back and watch second chances unfold.

"Each day is amazing," she said. "I could tell you story after story. It's just beautiful."

The Community Soup Kitchen has been operating in Goldsboro for generations -- relying on donations of food, money and time to remain open.