On a crisp Saturday morning, November 18th, the community of San Juan Capistrano came alive with a unique sense of purpose and warmth. This was no ordinary weekend. San Juan Capistrano Rotary, in a heartfelt collaboration with Interact members from San Juan Hills High School and Capo Valley Christian High School, embarked on a mission of kindness and gratitude, one that would leave a lasting impact on the families of the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton.
The project, led by Rotarian Tami Wilhelm, was set in motion outside five local supermarkets, where the dedicated Rotarians and energetic high school students stood with hopeful smiles, reaching out to shoppers with a simle request: to donate items for Thanksgiving meals for the families of enlisted Marines serving our country.
The response from the community was nothing short of inspiring. Generous contributions filled the collection boxes, ranging from cranberry sauce and potatoes to all the trimmings needed for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The spirit of giving was further amplified by Smart & Final’s generous donation of turkeys, ensuring that each family would have the centerpiece for their feast.
The donations were then taken to the Rotary's Scout Hut, a place steeped in a history of community service. Here, the Interactors carefully sorted the abundance of donated food items. Two bags were packed for each family – one with a turkey and a pumpkin pie, the other brimming with the makings of a sumptuous Thanksgiving meal.
Later that day, members of the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines arrived to collect the food bags. Each bag, heavy with goods, was also laden with the community’s respect and gratitude for the sacrifices made by these military families.
This Thursday, as Marine families gather around their tables at Camp Pendleton, there will be an added warmth to their celebration. The gesture from the San Juan Capistrano community will be a poignant reminder of the bond shared between those who serve and those they protect. The meal will symbolize more than just a festive tradition; it will represent a community's unwavering support and a heartfelt thank you to those who dedicate their lives to serving the nation.
Through this project, the San Juan Capistrano Rotary and the San Juan Hills High School Interact members have not only provided meals but have also fostered a sense of community and gratitude. They've shown that even a single act of kindness can bridge distances and strengthen bonds, embodying the true spirit of service and leadership, and reinforcing the Rotary's commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of others.