Local Non-Profit STEPs Up to Help Military Families

Hundreds of local military families received some much-needed help Thursday, thanks to the non-profit-- Supporting The Enlisted Project (STEP)

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Many San Diegans are struggling right now, and some of the hardest hit are our local military families.

The non-profit Support The Enlisted Project, or STEP, said many enlisted service members are being asked to shelter in place at home, making it tough to get the food and supplies they need for their families.

Others on deployment are seeing those deployments extended.

"If you're out and the ship is clean, then they're just staying away. They're staying out," said STEP CEO and Co-Founder Tony Teravainen. "What we've seen also, is a lot of the spouses, and service members that had second jobs that were the first ones to go in the economic slowdown."

To help meet the needs of these families, STEP held a drive-through distribution event Thursday at its headquarters in Scripps Ranch.

Hundreds of enlisted and transitioning veteran families were invited to stop by and stock up on food, toiletries, diapers, and other items.

Sara Maclean's husband is in the Coast Guard and she has four little boys at home. She said the event was a real blessing.

"It's bringing tears to my eyes," she said. "It makes me so happy that everybody is coming together and helping each other out."

Although STEP holds these types of events fairly regularly, their primary goal is to help military families achieve lifelong financial self-sufficiency through financial counseling and other programs.

"When they come to us, hanging on that last rung of the ladder, it’s like, how do I make sure you never get back here, and that’s really what we do,” Teravainen said.

Another drive-through distribution event will be held on April 23. For more information, go to

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