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My Coast Guard
Commentary | July 29, 2021

Commitment to Service: TRACEN Petaluma CS A-school shelter-less outreach  

By Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Knesek 

For over 20 years, the culinary specialist (CS) A-school staff and students at Training Center (TRACEN) Petaluma, have volunteered their time to help feed the shelter-less and immobile elderly within the Petaluma area. Assisting the Committee on the Shelter-less (COTS), twice per month these CSs have dedicated their Sunday mornings to preparing meals for COTS clients, sorting food donations, boxing up food kits for delivery and even taking care of the yards of the multiple COTS houses used by their clients.  

In early 2021, COTS program Mary’s Table contacted the TRACEN Petaluma dining facility for assistance feeding the hungry within the community and to reestablish the partnership that had been so active prior to the pandemic’s social distancing restrictions.  

Culinary specialists at the unit utilize the gleaning program once a week Coast Guard TRACEN Petaluma’s dining facility has been able to donate excess, wholesome high-quality food for Mary’s Table, averaging 225 pounds per week. Gleaning recovers food from farms, restaurants, grocery stores, and wholesale markets and farmers markets to prevent food-waste and to reconcile food insecurity.  

The leftover proteins donated by TRACEN Petaluma are used by the COTS staff, who incorporates the donations to feed many Mary’s Table beneficiaries in the Petaluma community.  

TRACEN Petaluma serves as an inspiration for other dining facilities across the Coast Guard to adopt their own gleaning program, ensuring that high quality food leftovers are being used in feeding local communities and those in need.  

To learn more about the Committee on the Shelter-less please visit their website.  

If you would like information on how to adopt a Dining Facility gleaning program please email Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Knesek.