Thanksgiving outreach to troops declared success

Volunteers for the Outreach Impacting Lives nonprofit assemble Thanksgiving meals that were distributed to 1,000 needy military families at Camp Pendleton and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. (photo courtesy of Outreach Impacting Lives)

Carl Prine | San Diego Union Tribune – November 22, 2017

More than 100 volunteers distributed 10 times that many Thanksgiving meals to local enlisted families, part of a 10-year quest to thank the troops for their service while helping alleviate military poverty.

Outreach Impacting Lives and San Diego Military Outreach Ministries on Saturday united to identify and deliver packages that included 15 lb. turkeys and 10 side dishes.

Half of the meals went to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and the other half to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Over the past 10 years, Outreach Impacting Lives alone has spent nearly $150,000 to donate 4,200 meals to 17,000 service members and their families at Thanksgiving.

Hunger in the military is exacerbated by San Diego County’s high cost of living. When federal watchdogs from the Government Accountability Office visited Camp Pendleton in late 2015 they found four food pantries on base. One of them alone fed between 400 and 500 Marine families every month.

The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank estimates that it feeds more than 28,000 low-income armed forces personnel and veterans — 29 tons of food distributed monthly through Military Outreach Ministries and other charities.

San Diego Military Outreach Ministries, a nondenominational charity guided by Christian values, pinpointed the needy troops for the Thanksgiving program.

Outreach Impacting Lives — a nonprofit founded by in 2007 by John Wallace, the owner of JW Floor Covering & ReSource Floors, after he returned from a church mission in Mozambique with the mission to make lives better — assembled and delivered the care packages.

“His companies’ motto of ‘Service with Purpose’ reflects this ongoing commitment to improving our communities,” said the nonprofit’s executive director, Tauna Rodarte, in an email to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Outreach Impacting Lives targets military families, veterans and the homeless for help. Because the nonprofit’s initiatives rely solely on volunteers, with no personnel costs, more than 96 percent of funds go directly to aid the needy. The charity estimates that its volunteers have donated nearly 55,000 hours of labor and almost $1 million to assist 22,500 people over the past decade.

Source: San Diego Union Tribune

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