Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is the last major undeveloped portion of the California coastline south of Santa Barbara and has a daytime population of approximately 100,000 people. It is the second largest Marine Corps base in The United States. According to San Clemente Military Family Outreach (SCMFO), an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, many of whom are former military members:
- There are 1,000 military families living on base, 10 percent of whom are living below the poverty level, and the situation is worsening due to Department of Defense cuts and other government budget cuts
- Most of the Marine families are living far from home, and their families and are somewhat isolated even from the military establishment on the huge base
- SCMFO provides support and assistance to needy military members and their dependents, particularly at the northwest area of the base
- SCFMO encourages local communities to become “local families” to military families by offering friendship, sponsoring morale bosting events and providing emergency assistance with financial needs such as groceries, diapers, formula, gas and car repairs, school supplies and other unexpected needs
- If service personnel in need cannot be helped by Navy and Marine Corps Relief, they are referred to an SCFMO assistance, which provides a route to a successful resolution of the crisis
- An SCFMO volunteer calls a family and schedules an interview discuss needs and take information such as children’s ages, health, shoe and clothing sizes, etc. A military ID is required
In addition to help in emergency situations, SCFMO does the following:
- Distributes Easter baskets
- Adopts classrooms and provides school supplies
- Distributes 1,000 turkeys and meals at Thanksgiving
- Pairs military families and donors at Christmas
- Hosts springtime social teas for military wives
- Throws baby showers for expectant mothers
Volunteering both as an individual or a family provides a boost to one’s mental health and if the family works together, a great example for children.
SCFMO was founded in 2002 by Marine Lt. Col William McReynolds and his wife Sidonia as “Friends of San Onofre Marines,” a permanent volunteer group. Following Colonel McReynolds retirement, SCMFO was inaugurated in 2008 and is under the aegis of St. Andrews By-The-Sea United Methodist Church, a respected nonprofit organization with a five-member Board of Directors. All board meetings are open to the public.
Interested volunteers may call 949-492-2537 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday, for information. SCMFO offices are located at:
St. Andrews By-The-Sea United Methodist Church
2001 Calle Frontera
San Clemente, CA 92673
Sovereign Health is a behavioral treatment provider with headquarters in San Clemente, California. Our staff provides treatment for mental health disorders, addiction and co-occurring conditions. If you would like further information, please call our 24/7 helpline.
Written by Veronica McNamara, Sovereign Health Group writer