Largest event for volunteer organization provides 1,000 dinners to Camp Pendleton families

Volunteers Cate Harrell, Emma Smith, Camryn Harrell and Sophie Smith prepare to hand out green beans at the San Clemente Military Family Outreach Thanksgiving giveaway at Camp Pendleton Monday.
Volunteers Cate Harrell, Emma Smith, Camryn Harrell and Sophie Smith prepare to hand out green beans at the San Clemente Military Family Outreach Thanksgiving giveaway at Camp Pendleton Monday.

By Jim Shilander

Camp Pendleton families began lining up at 7 a.m. Monday to receive help making the traditional Thanksgiving feast happen thanks to San Clemente Military Family Outreach.

The all-volunteer organization, holds events throughout the year on behalf of families on the north end of the base, but its biggest events take place around the holidays. With the help of several dozen volunteers, on Monday the organization distributed 1,000 frozen turkeys, pies and all the fixings of a feast at its largest event of the year. The organization also has a “Thank a Family” family adoption program at Christmas.

The event brings together volunteers from churches, scouting organizations and Marines, said Christina Gonzalez, board co-president and military spouse.

The $25,000 cost of the event comes from individuals, churches, civic organizations and the proceeds of the group’s annual October variety show. Most of the food items are purchased directly through donations. Other non-perishable items are collected from churches and other donors.

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