A nonprofit group ensured hundreds of military families in the Camp Pendleton area will have a proper meal this holiday season at an event in Oceanside on Saturday.
Beginning at about 10 a.m., military members and their families gathered at the QLN Conference Center for the Holiday Meals for Military event put on by Operation Homefront.
During the event, organizers said they handed out 500 free “meal kits” which included every grocery item the families would need to cook a full holiday meal.
Around 30 volunteers helped bag the groceries and carry the items out to the family’s cars, according to event organizers.
The annual event had been in the works for nearly month and required military members register to attend on a first come, first served basis.
More than just grocery giveaways, Holiday Meals for Military included special children’s activities and music in an effort to make the day as festive as possible for the families, many of whom took to social media to express their gratitude.
“Just want to say thank you so much for everything!!!!!” wrote one woman on Operation Homefront California’s Facebook page. “You guys have no idea how much this will do for our family!" she added.
Many of those present at Saturday's event were happy to be recognized for their service said Jack Chirrick, the executive director of Operation Homefront California.
“The reaction of the people is just generosity; they are so thankful that people have taken the time to put the program together for them to say thank you,” Chirrick said.
“At the end of the day they’re just thankful that anybody is taking the time to thank them for their service," Chirrick added.
Across the nation, Operation Homefront has provided both emergency and financial assistance to families of service members and wounded warriors since 2002.