Camp Pendleton is our largest and most heartfelt operation.
Helping Hand Worldwide serves low-income military families, many living under the federal poverty threshold. Military life today often includes a spouse and one or more children under age five. Salaries for newly enlisted Marines are shockingly low, just under $20,000 annually for grades E-1 to E-3, regardless of where the individual is stationed. Countless young military families are unable to afford the costs of everyday goods and services including healthy food. Budgets are strained even further when one spouse is deployed. In addition, the cost of living in southern California is one of the highest in the nation.
The need for assistance with food insecurity cannot be understated. Our recipients need assistance with everything from green vegetables to eggs. In many cases, children suffer health issues directly related to malnutrition. Pregnant women often develop gestational diabetes from a nutrient poor diet. Men lack energy due to a lack of protein in their diets. Fortunately, we provide large quantities of fresh fruit, vegetables, chicken, meat, fish, cheese, eggs, nuts and whole grains through our Mobile Food Pantry Program.
Helping Hand Worldwide also helps our military families by creating a warm and welcoming environment at our food distributions. Most of our recipients are a long way from home without any family or friends nearby. We focus on building strong communities by utilizing volunteers who live in the military housing community. They make certain the food is distributed in a fair and safe manner but equally important they make certain recipients know much we care. Military wives are especially grateful to find a new sense of community. They share resources, recipes and recommendations with one another on how to survive multiple deployments by their spouses. In one example, a group of compassionate Moms deliver fresh food each week to Mothers who are home with new babies and husbands who are overseas.