Commissary “Grab-n-Go” goes to school

By Herb Greene

     FORT LEE, Va. – Oh no! This can’t be happening. Your wife had an early formation. The command group called and wants you off leave and back on duty now. The school bus has just turned onto your street and you haven’t made lunches for the kids. If you’ve got packaged meals from the commissary, however, there’s no need to panic.

     Just open the fridge and take out convenient Grab-n-Go items that are a perfect fit for lunchboxes: milk boxes and packaged sandwiches and pieces of fruit. Toss them into the kid’s backpacks, which are almost as big as your field pack, and there they go. In a flurry of hugs, giggles, dropped books, barking dogs, laughing children and a honking bus horn, “Grab-n-Go” has done gone and went . . . to school!

     In the fast-paced world of the military, convenient and affordable items in your commissary’s Grab-n-Go section have taken on a new role for time-pressed parents of schoolchildren: that of the traditional bagged school lunch.

     “We didn’t plan it this way in the beginning,” said Charlie Dowlen, a commissary management specialist who oversees DeCA’s Grab-n-Go program. “What we wanted to do was to provide individually packaged food items that busy military personnel (that’s everybody in uniform) and their families could get in a hurry for a quick lunch. We place these items conveniently at the front of the store where they are easy to find. These items are very popular with busy people.” 

     Customers can choose lunch items from a large selection of popular, nutritious and affordable foods, Dowlen explained. He’s not kidding either. DeCA has more than 175 items in its Grab-n-Go assortment.

     Dowlen and others are constantly looking at new items and new ways to make the service even better for commissary shoppers. Most commissaries worldwide offer Grab-n-Go service, and shoppers in a hurry love it. Prepackaged sandwiches, milk and fruit are the most popular choices among the school lunch customers. Other choices include yogurt, packaged luncheon meat, crackers, muffins, fruit cups, salads, sodas and bottled water.

     Even if you don’t have school-age children in your home, Grab-n-Go items will fit into your menu plan quite nicely the next time you are up against the wall and have little or no time for food preparation. Just dash into your commissary and “Grab-n-Go!”




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