By LTJG Carlos de Cordoba, U.S. Fifth Fleet Public Affairs
| July 30, 2020
Sailors assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) have been donating their personal time and efforts to support Bahrain-based charities amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, providing more than $14,500 in donations between February and August 2020.
Chief Religious Programs Specialist Patricia Hernandez and Religious Programs Specialist 1st Class Yanet Chavezespinoza have organized seven donations during off-duty hours since February.
“Our goal is to help our local community, especially those in need and hardest hit by the global health crisis,” said Chavezespinoza.
Personal donations made consisted of $2,500 in toys, trampolines, therapy balls, small tables, and a slide to RIA Institute, an organization that helps students with special education needs, and two separate donations of medicine, masks, gloves, and other medical supplies to the Migrant Workers Protection Society, a charity group that provides basic necessities and translation services to expatriate workers.
“It is only right to help and support our neighbors,” said Hernandez. “We have a responsibility to give back to the community that provides us with such hospitality.”
NAVCENT sailors regularly participate in community relations programs including volunteering work with local schools and charitable organizations prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Although we can’t continue in-person volunteer work, I’m proud of the way this team has continued our strong tradition of community service through these difficult times,” said Capt. John Kalantzis, NAVCENT/U.S. 5th Fleet Force Chaplain. “These projects strengthen the bonds between U.S. military personnel and local citizens and residents of the Kingdom of Bahrain.”
The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.