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San Diego Families Adopt Marines For Thanksgiving

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San Diego Families Adopt Marines For Thanksgiving
Hundreds of families in San Diego County are adding extra place settings to their tables this Thanksgiving, inviting Marines over for a home-cooked turkey and all the fixings.

Nearly 850 Marines from Camp Pendleton are spending Thanksgiving Day with more than 300 adoptive families across San Diego County. The Marines are all recent boot-camp graduates who are now in the School of Infantry.

An annual tradition for 14 years, the Armed Services YMCA at Camp Pendleton asks families to sponsor a pair of Marines for Thanksgiving dinner as part of its Home Hospitality Program.

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"There is nothing open on the installation for them to do, so this allows the Marines to go out and meet some adoptive parents," said George Brown, executive director of the Armed Services YMCA.

Brown said the Marines’ training schedule doesn’t allow them enough time to fly home, but they do have the day off for a home-cooked meal and to spend time with their new neighbors.

"And it allows the local communities to kind of meet and support these individual Marines who it’s their first time away from home or first holiday away from home," he said.

Brown said more than enough families are signed up to host the Marines for Thanksgiving, but they're still looking for volunteers to sponsor families for their upcoming Secret Santa programs.

The Secret Santa Wish List program serves young military families, ranked corporal or lower, who identify their needs, such as clothes, food and toys.

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"We pair that family with a local sponsor, who then takes that wish list and goes out and shops for this family, wraps the toys and brings it to us," Brown said.

For more information, call the Armed Forces YMCA Camp at Pendleton at (760) 385-4921.