‘Tis the season of giving and Master-at-Arms 1st Class Leah Lathrop and Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples’ Naples Area Security Association (NASA) did not let the season pass without doing their part.
Lathrop, assigned to NSA Naples’ Security Department spearheaded a toy drive to collect gifts.
According to Lathrop, the inspiration behind the project came from her personal experience growing up in Phoenix, Arizona.
“I believe it’s our job as adults to protect children from harsh times in life. They should never know the feeling of not being loved […]. I grew up in orphanages and foster homes. I know that feeling. My one purpose in life is to share God’s love so no child feels that hurt,” said Lathrop.
Working with NASA, Lathrop set up Christmas Trees and donation boxes in the security precincts onboard Capodichino and Support Site.
Over roughly two weeks, members of the department were able to bring in gifts and donations.
The association worked with local church, Celebration Italia, to give the donated gifts to children in foster homes around the Caserta, Italy area.
The team donated mainly to children who were separated from their families due to poverty and other unfortunate situations.
The children ages 10 months to 18 years old, received gifts ranging from headphones and to toy cars thanks to the donations from the Security Department.
Assistant Pastor Giacamo Bleve explained that the ultimate goal of this project is to bring a smile to the children’s faces.
“The Italian government will provide them with food and clothes. These kids have basically everything they need,” said Bleve. Yet they are missing opportunities and things that make them smile, he explained.
Leathrop also says she hopes the gifts bring joy to the youth.
“That one small act of kindness can help keep them mentally strong and emotionally resilient,” said Leathrop.
Celebration Italia Campus Pastor John Tufaro discussed the effect the project had on the local community.
“The impact that U.S. Navy organizations have when serving the local community is absolutely huge.” said Tufaro.
Tufaro explained that the donations and help from organizations like NASA allows the spirit of generosity to spread throughout the local community. He added that the efforts help to supplement the care provided by Italian government.
“I always say, of course U.S. military organizations are here with a mission and purpose. Projects like the toy drive allow the military mission to go beyond the bases” said Tufaro.
NASA President, Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Melvin Bell spoke on the importance of giving back to host nations through projects like the toy drive.
“It’s important to let our local community know that we are here to support them. No matter where we are stationed, it’s great to give back and let people know we care,” said Bell.
NSA Naples is an operational ashore base that enables U.S., allied, and partner nation forces to be where they are needed, when they are needed to ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia.
|Date Posted:||12.23.2022 11:25|
|Hometown:||PHOENIX, AZ, US|