By Eric Heinz
For more than a decade, San Clemente Military Family Outreach (SCMFO) has provided thousands of Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton and their families with Thanksgiving dinner.
This year, more than 1,000 turkeys were donated through the foundation, and people were able to pick them up at a giveaway on Monday, Nov. 19, at the base commissary.
The Thanksgiving dinner giveaway at the base was started about 2002, said SCMFO president Clark Lashmett. It was started by Marine Lt. Col. William McReynolds and his wife, Sidonia.
“After that, we organized into a group of several churches,” Lashmett said. “This year is kind of unique; we have about 80 volunteers helping us out with the bagging and helping people go through (the line), and most of those people are those we have assisted in previous years who want to give back.”
SCMFO helps with various tasks that Marines may need help with, such as car repair and other needs. About 15 Marines helped out during the giveaway. Just last year, about 800 turkeys were donated, so the event has been growing.
If you break it down by the number of hours they’re on duty, Marines need to reach the rank of E-6 (staff sergeant) to make a wage that wouldn’t qualify for food assistance (depending on the number of family members each has in a household), meaning that the turkey dinner giveaways can really help during the holidays.
“Even E-8s come through,” Lashmett said, adding the dinners provided include stuffing, canned goods, desserts and anything else to complete the meal.
SCMFO will also hold its newly designed “Thank-a-Family,” a deviation from the usual “Adopt-a-Family” it has hosted. The foundation has already organized names of families who qualify, and they will match families with donors.
Find out more information about the SCMFO organization at www.militaryfamilyoutreach.com.
FAM Thanksgiving Dinner
Family Assistance Ministries (FAM) will host a Thanksgiving community meal starting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21, at the San Clemente Community Center. People can help support the dinner by donating prepared dishes such as cooked turkeys (bring in a large disposable aluminum container); side dishes including mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, yams, veggies, mac and cheese, bread/rolls & butter; and pies and other desserts (bring in a disposable container). Supplies (knives, forks, spoons, disposable coffee cups, disposable containers, etc.) also can be donated. No Styrofoam.
To sign up to bring a dish, contact Michelle Allen firstname.lastname@example.org or call 949.492.8477, ext. 115. Food needs to be delivered on Wednesday, Nov. 21. Bring turkeys between 3-4 p.m. and all other dishes can arrive between 3-5 p.m.