The daily effort to make 800 Marines and sailors based at Camp Pendleton, including those with wives and children, feel at home expanded even more this year.
The Irvine 2/11 Marine Adoption Committee supports the 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines who are deployed for six months overseas and those returning to the San Diego-area facility.
“We have actually increased our support since the pandemic,” says Tina Anderson, president of the nonprofit. From this month’s holiday toy drive to the expanded welcome-home bags, outreach by Irvine residents, businesses and civic groups eases the hard life of the military.
“These are Marines who have no families in the area,” Anderson says. “They come back to an empty room.”
But rather than empty in the literal sense, snacks, food, toiletries, a ready-made bed (often with new fleece blankets), towels and washcloths are waiting. So, too, are welcome-home cards and posters that Irvine youth create with artistic flair.
A few years ago, Anderson hosted a baby shower for 22 moms. Today, a baby basket is at the ready for each newborn. And, for those 130 or so Marines and sailors recently deployed, each received a travel pillow to make the trip more comfortable.
“The community has been so generous with their support of our active-duty Marines,” Anderson says. “Without that support, our nonprofit would not be as successful as it is.”
But there is more to do. A need for volunteers and a donation of a storage unit are ongoing.
Anderson has been president of the nonprofit for most of its 15 years, in part as a thank you to her husband, father and brother who served in the Marines and other family members who have served in the armed services.
Learn more at irvine211marines.org.