Camp Pendleton, CA. (Dec. 22, 2021) – Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton (NHCP) Pastoral Care Services and C.A.R.E.S. (Caring, Assistance, and Resources in Emergency/Everyday Situations) helped bring some holiday cheer to the Sailors at NHCP with an annual toy and food drive.
Each year, for the past 22 years, NHCP’s Pastoral Care Services has partnered with C.A.R.E.S., a private organization that assists NHCP with a command donation program and a holiday season Toy & Food Drive which benefits the junior enlisted families of NHCP.
The whole process begins in October, where NHCP’s Pastoral Care Services reach out to NHCP Chiefs Mess to request names of Sailors who would benefit from the holiday donations. While Pastoral Care is gathering information on the families in need, C.A.R.E.S., which was founded by Ms. Vicki Miller, a staff member here at NHCP, partners with many organizations out in town including, churches, retirement homes, local Sheriff’s Department, and several small business. Among those who donate to C.A.R.E.S. each year, NHCP’s very own First Class Petty Officer Association provides donations they receive from their annual Adopt a Snowman Program. This program allows individuals to take a snowman off of one of the Christmas trees throughout the hospital with information on age and gender of a child in need of a toy. All donations are given to C.A.R.E.S., who then partners with NHCP’s Pastoral Care Services, allowing them to provide the donations to the junior Sailors at the hospital.
“I once was a single mom and I appreciated all the assistance I got during the tough times, especially holidays. I want our staff to feel that no matter what, we care about them – good times and bad.” Ms. Vicki Miller said when asked why she continues to do this for NHCP each year. This year, the food and toy drive helped over 200 families on Camp Pendleton, 32 more than last year. The Pastoral Care Services, with the help of the First Class Petty Officer Association handed out the donations to the designated families on Monday, December 20th and Tuesday, December 21st 2021. Families with five or less members received a $50 grocery gift cards and those with six or more family members received $100 grocery gift cards. Each family also received toys for the gender and age of their children. Tweens and Teens in each family received a $50 gift card to shop with.
Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton would like to provide a special Thank You to Ms. Vicki Miller for her hard work and embodying our motto “Serving Those Who Serve”. She is making a significant impact on the lives of our Sailors by providing them necessities, not only during the holidays but all year long. NHCP would also like to thank the First Class Petty Officer Association, Pastoral Care Services, and all of the many donors who helped make this possible this year. Without your caring hearts and volunteering spirits, this would not have been possible.