Becky Mauger lives in a retirement community, but that doesn’t mean she’s resting on her laurels.
Mauger and other residents at Reata Glen have been busy collecting donations that they will give to military families in need on Saturday, Jan. 28, at St. Andrew’s by the Sea United Methodist Church in San Clemente during a baby shower-themed event.
The senior citizens at the Rancho Mission Viejo facility began collecting items in December. Mauger got the idea to loop her neighbors in, because she frequently helps out low-income military families as a board member for the San Clemente Military Family Outreach program.
Mauger has been doing the donation drives for three years and calls this year’s round “very exciting.”
“We wanted to do something fun that we could all contribute to,” she said.
More than 400 items and more than $800 in Target gift cards are set to go to young parents out of Camp Pendleton. Baby clothes, blankets, strollers, car seats and other accessories will be given to families.
A small number of moms will get to go in and collect items every 15 minutes during Saturday’s giveaway at St. Andrew’s, Mauger said. Volunteers will be on hand to help parents.
“We go station to station and help them put the things in their car,” Mauger said. “You look at (the military parents), and they’re so young. This gives them a good feeling. It’s so rewarding.”
Many Camp Pendleton families arrive to the base from outside the local area, and so they don’t have access to nearby resources or connections when dealing with the challenge of a newborn, Mauger said.
“These are folks that are defending our country,” she said. “We have to give back.”
Mauger has a personal connection to the military and assisting enlisted members, because her family has a history of service. Her grandfather served in World War I, and her father in World War II, with her mother receiving assistance then.
“It really does hit home,” Mauger said. “We can be a resource for these military families.”
The San Clemente Military Family Outreach program has also helped military families with dental bills, maintains a food pantry and gave away 1,000 Thanksgiving meals to families in November.
The program has openings for volunteers. More information on the program is available at militaryfamilyoutreach.org.