SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Nine Marines and one sailor from Camp Pendleton joined forces with local volunteers to lend a helping hand at the Bread of Life Rescue Mission to prepare and serve a free dinner to local homeless and others in need in Oceanside, Calif., Jan. 28, 2014.
Many of the servicemembers who attended are members of the Prince Hall Masonic Society and organized the event with other civilian society members. The group volunteers their time to various community service activities in the San Diego area. This was the second occasion in which they volunteered at the Mission.
“Today we came here to give back to the homeless and needy and show the community that we are the kind of people with good hearts,” said Cpl. Andrew T. Gibson, motor transportation operator, Motor Transportation Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group, who has experienced similar hardships. “It’s only right that I give back now that I’m able to,” added the 21-year-old Orlando native.
By coordinating with local churches, county social services and volunteer groups, the Bread of Life Rescue Mission offers religious services, counseling and shelters and offers support services to the homeless of North San Diego County. For these service members, community outreach and volunteering is as important as the military service they conduct overseas. They view active engagement with the community as a way to communicate who they are to the people they have sworn to protect.
“It’s always important for [Marines] to help the community,” said Staff Sgt. Dederick L. Brooks, supply chief, 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, emphasizing the importance of volunteer work in communities that support military organizations.
The servicemembers also enjoy volunteering and giving back to the community on a personal level.
“This is the second time we have come out here to assist these individuals, and it’s pretty motivating for us,” said Brooks, a 31-year-old native of Lufkin, Texas. “You feel good on the inside. Giving back to the community and giving assistance is something that always makes me feel better. I recommend any individual who wants to do community service, whether that’s here or somewhere else, to come out and do it.”