HomeMediaArticle Display

Wisconsin student flight Airmen donate food during pandemic

Student flight members donate to food pantries

Kiara Johnson, 115th Fighter Wing student flight member, poses with 352 items she collected during a food drive that ran from April 14-24, 2020 in Wisconsin. Johnson and 21 other student flighters from across the state collected 3,515 items in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (photo courtesy of Kiara Johnson)

MADISON, Wis. --

She was supposed to leave for basic military training. Then, COVID-19 hit. Four days before she was scheduled to head out, her April 7, 2020 departure got moved to the end of summer.

Even though Augustina Saavedra-Lincoln was not leaving for basic training yet, she and her fellow student flight members were staying connected to base and were eager to find ways to help out where needed.

“They were receiving the volunteer requests sent out by the base and were eager to volunteer for the opportunities they saw,” said Master Sgt. Ty Stebbins, 115th Fighter Wing student flight instructor. “Unfortunately I had to inform them they weren’t eligible to volunteer because they hadn’t been to basic training yet.”

That’s when Saavedra-Lincoln and her student flight friend, Kiara Johnson, took matters into their own hands.

“Sergeant Stebbins let us know we couldn’t help on base, so we decided to find another way to help our communities,” Saavedra-Lincoln said.

Saavedra-Lincoln and Johnson came up with the ‘Student Flight Food Pantry Fundraiser’ idea and began spreading the word.

The duo created a Facebook event and reached out to the other Wisconsin units to see if their student flights were interested in participating. Before long, they had 22 volunteers between the 115th Fighter Wing, the 128th Refueling Wing, and Volk Field Air National Guard Base.

“We all asked family members and neighbors if they wanted to donate, and if they did, we asked them to put a bag of food items on their porch so we could pick it up,” Saavedra-Lincoln said. “That way there didn’t have to be any contact and we weren’t spreading any germs.”

In total, the student flight participants from all over Wisconsin, were able to collect 3,515 items.

“We decided to take the food to our local food pantries, that way we were each giving back to the communities we live in,” Saavedra-Lincoln said. “There were 15 pantries across the state that we were able to donate to.”

When Saavedra-Lincoln made her donation to her local pantry, she struck up a conversation with one of the volunteers at the pantry.

“One of the ladies there said that their numbers have doubled since the pandemic started, so just being able to help and donate the food items — it felt really good, like we accomplished something that was actually helpful,” she said.

As all 22 participants dropped off their donations, they captured photos and videos of themselves, allowing 115th FW student flighters Vincenzo Badalamenti and Christian Bach an opportunity to show off their editing skills by putting together a compilation video of the Wisconsin student flighters' accomplishments.

“They came up with the idea, executed it, and made a fun video to go with it,” Stebbins said. “They are truly grasping what it means to be a Wingman, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

To view the video of these Airmen’s donations, visit https://youtu.be/zI2LtjPDT-Y

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.