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News | April 13, 2017

Troop Support provides religious support during April holidays

By Alex Siemiatkowski DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

Service members who celebrate Passover, Palm Sunday and Easter this month will do so with the help of the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support.

Christian service members observing Palm Sunday April 9 received pieces of palm through the Clothing and Textiles supply chain. C&T delivered more than 2,000 fan leaves of palms and 24,900 double strips of palm.

“I am religious myself and see the importance of ordering these particular items for our customers,” said Christopher Gaudio, a customer account specialist with C&T’s ecclesiastical support team. “They are fighting for us and we should be able to support their religious needs.”

The ecclesiastical team also delivered 223 Seder kits for Jewish military members celebrating the eight-day festival of Passover, which began the evening of April 10. The kits contain matzah, a shank bone, bitter herbs, and ceremonial items, such as an ornate plate, grape juice box, packaged dessert and kosher bubble gum.

“This particular purchase (of Seder kits) has been very meaningful to me,” said Air Force Senior Airman Fernando Cortez, contracting officer with the 379th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. “My faith plays a huge role in my life and being able to help facilitate our fellow brothers and sisters in arms in the practicing of their faith has been incredibly fulfilling.

“Being deployed, you miss a lot of things back home, especially around the holidays,” Cortez said. “So being able to make this happen, bringing a little piece of home is huge and greatly appreciated.”

The palms and Seder kits were sent to customers serving in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Europe and the United States.

The Subsistence supply chain provided more than 930 cases of Passover Meals, Ready to Eat to troops in the U.S., Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Germany, Japan and aboard Navy ships.

The Passover MRE comes in a single, flexible pouch, similar to an MRE, said Joe Zanolle, Subsistence customer account specialist. Those observing Passover receive two cases of MREs, which equal three meals a day for the eight-day observance.  

“DLA wants to ensure that our troops are able to observe their religious holidays with a traditional holiday meal as they would at home,” said Zanolle.

For Easter, Subsistence is providing more than 18,400 pounds of ham, 7,500 pounds of salmon, 16,000 pounds of shrimp and various desserts for dining facilities in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan. 

C&T delivered 276 bottles of sacramental wine to be used during Easter services April 16.

Due to the nature of the holiday items, it takes several months of preparation and planning to ensure customers have the items in time.

“Pre-planning all of these efforts requires a great deal of coordination among various people,” said Cauvin. “Most of the holiday planning began in the fall of 2016 to ensure all of the items arrived in the region well in advance of the holidays.”