Volunteers at Naples chase away the holiday blues
NSA NAPLES, Italy — It isn’t home for the holidays, but the surprise stocking treat left in Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Carnecki’s barracks room comes in at a distant second place.
“It kind of made me feel more like Christmas, because you don’t get that feeling living in the barracks,” said the 29-year-old sailor stationed at Naval Support Activity, Naples.
“I’m really homesick right now,” said Carnecki, who won’t be going home to Detroit to spend the holidays with his father, brother and brother’s family.
“I’ve got a lot of good friends, but no family.”
For more than seven years, the chaplain’s office at NSA Naples, with the help of several volunteers, have stuffed stockings and baggies with goodies from hard candy to baked goods compliments of the base “Ciao Hall” to deliver to single sailors living in the barracks, said Chaplain (Lt. Cmdr.) Dave McBeth.
“People are away from home, and when people are away from home, all the psychological studies and our own experts tells us that there is a greater chance that the holiday blues increase exponentially,’” McBeth said. “We can’t take [their being away from home] away. We can’t make it not happen. But we can do something.”
The program doesn’t just help the single, sick-for-home sailors, McBeth said. Volunteers too can help beat the holidays blues by helping others feel special and remembered, he said. This season volunteers stuffed 750 baggies and went knocking on single sailors’ barracks doors, doling out the goodie bags. If no one was home, they’d slip in and leave the gifts on sailors’ desks: “Kind of like Santa,” McBeth said.