Volunteers donate goods for military families

Brandy Estrada
Staff Writer

Donations to resupply food and necessities for Marine Corps families located in the 29 Palms Marine Corps Base came in on Saturday at the San Dimas Masonic Lodge. The food drive was held by the Satellite Rotary Club of Military Family Support in partnership with the Rotary Club of San Dimas, San Dimas Masonic Lodge and American Legion Star Post 309. 

Inside the lodge were boxes stacked up on each other that contained canned food, hygiene products, baby food, diapers and many other necessities. The boxes were labeled for volunteers to properly sort the donated products. 

Vickie Koutz, American Legion Auxiliary National President, visited from Indiana to show her support for the cause. 

The American Legion Auxiliary helps active military members and veterans get the assistance they need. Some of the work the association provides is creating services for homeless veterans, creating care packages for troops, coordinating welcome back and send off events and many more. 

“We advocate for our veterans and our military families,” Koutz said. “Also we help with the bills whenever they take veteran bills to congress, we help advocate for that and help follow priority points.”

Koutz has been a part of the association for 48 years and started her one year term in August, and plans to stay with the American Legion Auxiliary after her term is over.

“My husband is a veteran and was in Vietnam and I joined the American Legion Auxiliary on his eligibility,” Koutz said. “(Today) I’ve seen the community come together like no other (along with) different organizations coming together to supply food.”

For more information on the American Legion Auxiliary visit their website at legion-aux.org

The Rotary Club of San Dimas displayed their canopy tent outside, ready to help and serve their community.

Mike Wallace, a member of the Rotary Club of San Dimas, volunteered his time to be a part of the event. 

“We became aware of the need for food and supplies for young enlisted military families and we felt that we needed to try to help (them) because it was a cause we really cared about,” Wallace said. “We started putting (together) food drives and donating all of the food up to the base.”

The club realized the need to help when the Diamond Bar Women’s Group reached out for assistance for military families. From that point on, the club started a relationship with the YMCA located on the 29 Palms base to help military families.

Club members and Wallace plan to head over to the base on Monday morning to bring all supplies and food over for the families. 

Wallace has been with the club for eight years and has served president and treasurer. Currently he is the co-chair of the food drive.

Volunteers were outside and inside picking up donations and sorting everything out by categories into boxes. 

Ayanna Garcia, junior at San Dimas High School, and Travis Jackson, senior at San Dimas High School, volunteered their time to help the military families. 

Garcia is a part of the California Scholarship Federation at her high school and found out about the volunteer opportunities through her club. Jackson found this opportunity from the same club as Garcia and decided to volunteer to help out his community.

“This morning was a little slow but then a rush of people came in to donate and it was amazing,” Jackson said. “We met so many nice people that were sharing experiences with us.”

Garcia and Jackson labeled and sorted boxes when donations were coming in. The boxes were labeled into miscellaneous, canned goods, hygiene, pasta and baby supplies. Each volunteer put the supplies where they belonged. 

“Today taught me that people are really giving and it shocked me how much people donated,” Garcia said. “I plan to volunteer more after today.” 

More information about the Rotary Club of San Dimas can be found at sandimasrotary.org.  Donations for the military families at the 29 Palms Marine Corps Base can be found here

Brandy Estrada can be reached at brandy.estrada@laverne.edu.

Brandy Estrada is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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