THE BLOG
05/05/2006 11:55 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Marines Go Hungry in Iraq

There's nothing new, or newsy, about parents sending food to kids away from home. But it's usually treats, e.g. homemade cookies, not basic staples to warriors on the front. A few news outlets have started to pick up this story from the Providence Journal in Rhode Island.

[Cpl. Nick Andoscia] told his mother that he and the men in his unit [the 3rd Battalion of the 3rd Marines] were all about 10 pounds lighter in their first few weeks in Iraq. They were pulling 22-hour patrol shifts. They were getting two meals a day and they were not meals to remember.

"He told me the two meals just weren't cutting it. He said the Iraqi food was usually better. They were going to the Iraqis and basically saying 'feed me.' "

Mom, Karen Boucher-Andoscia, shipped packaged (not canned) tuna and other goodies, and "happened to mention her hungry son to people she works with at Greenwood Credit Union, where she is a teller and has worked for 30 years." The community pitched in.

Pounds and pounds of food started showing up amid the daily business of loans and deposits and withdrawals. Marianne Barao, the branch manager, said it could be done, the credit union could become the place where people help feed hungry Marines who are risking their lives on a skimpy diet.

"We sent out 51 pounds this week," says Karen. "There are customers coming in saying, 'What do you need?' "

The credit union is paying the cost of packing and shipping.

Any packaged food is welcome. So are baby wipes because showers are even rarer than a full meal. And foot powder.

OK, it's a heartwarming story of an entire community helping their local kids at the front. But given how much money has been frittered away in Iraq, it's also a story to give heartburn. No problem paying contested costs to KBR, the company that served spoiled food to US troops, but it seems that families and friends -- already tapped to equip their kids with adequate body armor -- also have to chip in on other basic necessities as well for the actual people fighting this war.

Thanks to The News Blog for the tip, plus links from Veterans Today, The Nation, The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor.