LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- The 19th Airlift Wing Chaplain Corps at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, is striving to support and connect with Airmen by bringing a coffee cart directly to units across the base.
“We decided to look into relocating money we couldn’t use for retreats and other events this year, as a result of COVID-19 constraints, and put it into something where we could get out to people,” said Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Morgan, 19th AW Religious Affairs noncommissioned officer in charge of operations. “We want to get out to every unit and every place possible to meet Airmen where they are.”
While the cart delivers coffee beverages, it’s being used as an innovative means to further connections with the men and women of Little Rock AFB, reinforcing the chapel’s commitment to strengthen spiritual wellness and resiliency across the installation by any means necessary.
“It’s more than just coffee, it’s building relationships and rapport,” said Maj. Jeremy Caudill, 19th AW deputy chaplain. “The function of the coffee cart is to bring ministry to the people, meeting them in their environment instead of them coming to the chapel.”
Although COVID-19 has affected what some of the services chaplains provide look like, they are optimistic that meeting Airmen at their work centers will provide another opportunity for Airmen to reach out to them if needed.
“If an Airmen is talking to me while we’re out giving coffee, and perhaps they are having a tough time, it allows me to talk to them right then and there, ask what’s going on and get to know them more,” Caudill said. “If it gets to be something that’s a little more sensitive that requires a more private setting, we can set up that up if they’d feel comfortable discuss it further.”
The chapel plans to increase the morale levels of Airmen in their workplace and provide a small boost to alertness by regularly delivering coffee as well as conducting routine visits. The hope is to continue finding alternate means to stay connected with Airmen.
“To some Airmen, talking about their feelings, among other things, to chaplains can seem scary,” Caudill said. “It’s important for us to go out to where they’re at to serve them coffee, ask about their family and just get to know them. That way when there is a crisis they know who we are and they realize we’re just people — we like coffee too!”