Camp Smith opened its gates to local charities during the Hawaii-Pacific Area Combined Federal Campaign kickoff Oct. 3.
Attendees were offered the opportunity to speak with representatives from 20 local charities, while listening to the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Band and eat a free lunch in front of the U.S. Pacific Command Building.
“The CFC is an organization that basically solved the needs to support local charities as well as national charities,” said Gunnery Sgt. Kenneth Gatlin, project manager and CFC organizer for Headquarters and Service Battalion, MarForPac.
The CFC was established during 1961 as a Presidential Order by President John F. Kennedy as a way to combine the numerous charities into a single campaign.
Gatlin said the military is such a large part of most communities and the CFC is here to say, ‘We’re here to support you.’ As a result, service members work to gain the communities trust as well as knowing other people outside of that community cares.
According to Gatlin, when Marines arrive at a new duty station they don’t know what’s on the other side of the gates until they venture out.
“The CFC is one of those organizations that brings the community to the base,” Gatlin said.
As part of the kickoff, attendees were given a “because I care buck” as an incentive to visit a minimum of six booths. The fake bill had six boxes on the rear side of the parchment used for the booth representatives to initial in.
Once each box was marked, the buck was turned in as a meal ticket and torn in two, producing a raffle ticket.
Lance Cpl. Joe Mejia, war reserve clerk with H&S Battalion, admitted he was surprised to see all the charities and to learn what each one was about.
“I came out to visit Red Cross because I’m committed to them because they’re well known,” Mejia said. “They’re one of the largest charities out there, but I didn’t realize how many more there are.”
The event wasn’t held to collect contributions, but to give attendees charitable information and offer future opportunities, Gatlin said.
He explained that a person will be drawn toward a certain charity because of a connection through family or friends.
“The kickoff event puts a face to the charity number,” Gatlin said.
Throughout the afternoon, attendees who took part in the raffle drew for a variety of prizes that included two separate certificates to a local Spa, a Sunday brunch for two at a local Resort, dinner buffet for two at a different local Hotel, certificates to an ice skating rink or USS Missouri passes.
MarForPac is scheduled to host a second event Oct. 10 called “Meet the Charities” affording service members a chance to meet 20 different charities in and outside the Pollock Theater.