PATROL BASE JAKER, Afghanistan -- As Ramadan draws to an end, Afghans in Nawa prepare to mark the occasion by celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, a celebratory feast marking the end of Ramadan.
To help ensure underprivileged families in Nawa can celebrate with a feast, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, and the 3rd Civil Affairs Group worked with local suppliers to purchase nearly 4,000 pounds of food, enough to supply 130 families with a care package.
Each package consists of flour, sugar, beans, rice and oil — staples of an Afghan kitchen.
"We tried to make the packages large enough so that they were of some use but small enough so people could actually carry them," said Maj. John Rinaldi, a team leader with the 3rd CAG. "If we had given any more it would become difficult to carry and because the families who are receiving them are needy they might not have access to transportation."
Marines and Afghans worked together to unload and store the packages at the Nawa District governor’s Marine house near the District Governor’s Center in Nawa, Sept. 8. That night and the next day the governor, Haji Abdul Manaf, worked with village elders to identify those families most in need and give them the packages.
Manaf said it was important at this time of year to get the food to those in need.
The governor distributed the food alongside Afghan police, without a Marine presence.
"The food is a gift from the Marines to the governor to be distributed through him to the people of Nawa," Rinaldi, from Vancouver, Wash., said. "Our involvement ends at the base to emphasize the Afghan government’s influence and legitimacy."