YORKTOWN, Va.

Military families of the Langley Air Force Base housing community joined forces to help Coast Guard members in a time of need at Jamestown Village, Yorktown, Virginia, Jan. 15, 2019.

Kelsea Pernsteiner, a U.S. Air Force spouse and former active duty Airman made a post on Facebook, searching for ways to help Coast Guardsmen and their families and found a group of Langley housing residents with the desire to take action.

“I’m constantly striving to find new ways to serve the community,” Pernsteiner said. “What really got me to want to do this was seeing the impact that the shutdown and the potential of missing a paycheck was having on my neighbors. Growing up food insecure in a really poor home, I know what is like to not know when your next meal is going to be.”

Pernsteiner said this would not have been possible without the constantly generous community that the military fosters. The donations of time, food, money and some party planning skills made this come to life.

Coast Guardsmen and their families were able to dine on a variety of home-cooked meals and desserts. Meals were also served for pick-up for those who couldn’t stay or to take to others that couldn’t make it.

Pernsteiner and crew also made sure no one left without taking home seconds and a selection of pantry items for the week.

“Last week I saw a quick post by Kelsea saying ‘I’m thinking of doing this’ and the next thing I saw it was a full blown thing,” said Hannah Scheungrab, wife of U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Theodore Scheungrab, Maritime Enforcement Specialist. “I was really overwhelmed and surprised of the turnout and how many people wanted to help or cared. We’ve been here for almost three years and made a few friends, mostly my neighbors though. I never really connected with the neighborhood more as a whole, so to see everyone jump on board to help out was incredible.”

According to Scheungrab, seeing people she never met before from different military branches, approach her family to help in these stressful times has been very emotional, in a good way. These people are helping her family even before receiving a call from her own family.

About 175 people were served, including Coast Guard families that made their way up from as far as Chesapeake.

“I kind of thought of that stone soup story we are told as kids, where everybody pitches in and the whole town can have a meal,” Pernsteiner said. “This is what happened, everybody pitched in and we had an awesome stone soup.”

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