Each Thanksgiving, hundreds of young Camp Pendleton Marines who don’t have families in the area spend the day as a guest with a local family as part of the Home Hospitality-Adopt a Marine for Thanksgiving program run by the base’s Armed Services YMCA.
Registration is open for community members to sign up to invite Marines for Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 23.
Most of the Marines participating in the program are recent boot camp graduates who are now stationed at Camp Pendleton attending the School of Infantry. They are typically between 18 and 20 years old.
Last year, 413 families from throughout San Diego County and neighboring areas hosted 1,384 young Marines to share Thanksgiving dinner together. The hosting families pick up the Marines from the School of Infantry and drive them back at the end of the day. Each family typically hosts two Marines, but some have hosted as many as a dozen.
The Home Hospitality program started in the mid-1970s and was originally titled simply “Adopt-a-Marine.” The program was offered during both Christmas and Thanksgiving but over the years has settled on solely Thanksgiving.
“The program fills up each year without fail,” said Chris Keane, executive director of the Camp Pendleton Armed Services YMCA.
Early registration is recommended. Community members can fill out a registration form at https://www.asymca.org/events-camp-pendleton.
Make sure to check out our tips for hosting and other organizations across to find Marines to adopt for the holidays.
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