U.S. Army recruiters and their families in Southern California will have a brighter Thanksgiving thanks to customers at Vons of Anaheim Hills who donated funds to purchase pumpkin pies, dinner rolls and 118 turkeys.
Soldiers loaded the boxed Thanksgiving dinners with the help of Cub Scout Pack 800 of Laguna Hills.
One of the assisting cub scouts is the son of Lt. Col. John Bleigh, commanding officer of the U.S. Army Southern California Recruiting Battalion.
“Our soldiers appreciate it so much, we were hoping they would do it again,” Bleigh said. “This is one less thing for the families to worry about time-wise or financially.”
A Thanksgiving dinner for a military family of four cost about $90, said Bridget Blehm, a civilian aide to the Secretary of the Arm and executive director of the Yorba Linda-based nonprofit, For Families of Active Military.
She coordinated the Vons donations for the second year.
Vons of Anaheim Hills advertised the military family program to customers by broadcasting on the store loudspeakers, displaying signs and encouraging checkers to ask customers to round-up their bill to the nearest dollar or make a one-time donation.
Lisa Benitez, a Vons checker from Anaheim, raised more than $2,000 from customers from her checkout line.
“There are a lot of people in this area who have family in the military,” she said.
Soldiers will drive the Thanksgiving dinners to 35 recruiting stations in Southern California, which are spread throughout Orange County, San Diego County and the Inland Empire.
For Families of Active Military has already delivered 100 turkeys to Marine families at Camp Pendleton and 120 turkeys to army families at Ft. Irwin near Barstow.