Why are the families of America servicemen begging for food?
EDUARDO CONTRERAS / Union Tribune
Volunteer Marisela Helgeson (left) and Military
Outreach Ministry associate director Patty Dutra
prepared to distribute food to Marine families at
Camp Pendleton. Behind them, some family members
waited to pick up the donated items.
Helping the hungry on base
Many military families rely on donated goods
By Rick Rogers
October 13, 2006
The women and children who formed a line at Camp Pendleton last week could have been waiting for a child-care center to open or Disney on Ice tickets to go on sale.
Instead, they were waiting for day-old bread and frozen dinners packaged in slightly damaged boxes. These families are among a growing number of military households in San Diego County that regularly rely on donated food
As the Iraq war marches toward its fourth anniversary, food lines operated by churches and other nonprofit groups are an increasingly valuable presence on military bases countywide. Leaders of the charitable groups say they're scrambling to fill a need not seen since World War II.
Too often, the supplies run out before the lines do, said Regina Hunter, who coordinates food distribution at one Camp Pendleton site.
“Here they are defending the country. . . . It is heartbreaking to see,” said Hunter, manager of the on-base Abby Reinke Community Center. “If we could find more sources of food, we would open the program up to more people. We believe anyone who stands in a line for food needs it and deserves it.”
The base's list of recipients swells by 100 to 150 people a month as the food programs streamline their eligibility process, word spreads among residents and ever-proud Marines adjust to the idea of accepting donated goods.
At least 2,000 financially strapped people in North County qualify for food and other items given out at the center and a Camp Pendleton warehouse run by the Military Outreach Ministry.
Ways to help
People interested in donating food, furniture or money to help military families in San Diego County can call:
Military Outreach Ministry at Camp Pendleton: (760) 908-7043
Military Outreach Ministries at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station: (619) 843-8964
To the south, about 1,500 individuals pick up free food, diapers or furniture at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station and several military-oriented distribution sites supported by churches and the San Diego Food Bank.
The numbers don't include military households that frequent other charities countywide to get enough to eat.
“I cry tears of joy every week,” said Patty Dutra of the Military Outreach Ministry. “You are looking at them and saying 'thank you' and they say, 'No, thank you.' ”wish they could.”
Oh my God. People are going overseas, leaving their families and then they get to wait for day old bread.
Support our troops is just another bullshit slogan. Bush is worried about fighting in space and not feeding military families at home.
posted by Steve @ 9:09:00 AM