Taste of Home event at Yokota
Yokota Air Base, Japan -- The feeling of being that new person. Weeks spent in the dorms without much social interaction. The process of figuring out how to make new friends and be a part of the community only becoming more difficult as time passes. It can all just be such a lonely experience, an experience that only becomes tougher to cope with around the holiday season.
This is how Maj. Kelly Stahl, a chaplain with the 374th Airlift Wing, described his time spent as an enlisted soldier in South Korea.
“It took me a while to become a part of the community because there are just so many different types of personalities out there,” said Stahl. “Especially being in an overseas environment, the feeling of being isolated from home makes things even more difficult.”
The Taste of Home program is designed to provide that at home feeling. The chapel began partnering with organizations in February 2017, and has done so every month, to provide a home cooked meal for the community, and a chance for members of Team Yokota to give back and contribute to their neighbors.
“A big piece of creating a Taste of Home was seeing a need in the community,” said Stahl. “We wanted to be able to provide a home cooked meal to Airmen. We wanted to give them a break from the routine of the dining facility. To just provide people a chance to sit down and enjoy a home cooked meal prepared by those in their community.”
The most recent organization to partner up with the chapel to host the event were members of the 374th Maintenance Squadron.
“When we were first contacted about the event we knew it was something we wanted to be a part of,” said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Brandon, 374 MXS Fabrication Flight aircraft structural maintenance technician. “We wanted to give individuals that home away from home.”
While the event has been successful in providing that home away from home to all that attend, it has also given attendees the chance to build a relationship with the 374 AW Chaplain Corps, said Stahl.
“Taste of Home has allowed those who attend to put a face to the name and create a level of familiarity with us,” said Stahl. “We are a very tangible resource and we want people to be comfortable thinking about us as an option for help.”
Creating that familiarity with the community that attend Taste of Home has lead to trust being built, said McDonald. That trust has enabled us to be there for the individuals who need us the most.
“The biggest success we’ve had from Taste of Home is a lonely individual came in and through the environment created by the community that night, we were able to work with them and get them the help they needed,” said Capt. Michael McDonald, 374 AW chaplain.
These moments of helping others get the help they need or just giving people a platform for social interaction has kept the event going strong.
“Dinner is a social event,” said Stahl. “A Taste of Home is just that. It is a time to come together and create social connection with the community. Come hang out, sit down and meet people. If you can, bring a friend.”
With the most recent event having over 120 attendees, Taste of Home has continued to grow into a larger social gathering.
“The next Taste of Home will be held Jan. 23 and will be sponsored by the Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club,” said McDonald. “The Protestant Women of the Chapel will be sponsoring the following event on Feb. 20.”
If your organization wants to do more and help contribute to Team Yokota, the 374 AW Chaplain Corps are always looking for future partners to help provide the meals for the event. If your organization has talented cooks and want to share their talent with the community, please contact the main chapel for more information and scheduling for March and beyond.