San Clemente Military Family Outreach

History

San Clemente Military Family Outreach History

The nonprofit all-volunteer organization that is now San Clemente Military Family Outreach began in 2002 as Friends of San Onofre Marines (“FOSOM”). FOSOM was founded by a career military officer, Marine Lt. Col. William McReynolds and his wife, Sidonia, who had retired to San Clemente and saw a great need to provide emergency assistance to low income families in north Camp Pendleton. Their charitable work started with a dinner for 125 Marines deploying to Kuwait in November 2002. The McReynolds guided FOSOM for five years before needing to retire from its leadership.
At that time, St. Andrew’s by the Sea (“SABTS”) Methodist Church and its members had become quite active with FOSOM, helping in a variety of ways including donating baby clothes and diapers, car seats and other needed items; helping provide Thanksgiving meals, Christmas gifts, and Easter baskets to families. In 2007, SABTS members established the San Clemente Military Families Support Group to keep the McReynolds’ work going and even expanding it. In 2008 the Support Group officially began doing business as San Clemente Military Family Outreach (“SCMFO”).
During 2018 SABTS and a group of volunteers filed incorporation and non-profit status documentation and during 2019 the IRS granted SCMFO 501(c)3 nonprofit status. SCMFO now enjoys a wide variety of support from the community (both ecumenical and otherwise) but SCMFO maintains strong ties with SABTS. SCMFO is grateful to SABTS for its continuing support, not only with donated office space and phone service, but by allowing us to use its facilities for events (the Fellowship Hall, the lawn and even the parking lot).

20th Anniversary

In 2022 we celebrated our 20th Anniversary as an organization dedicated to providing emergency assistance to active
duty military families, primarily of ranks E6 and below, stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. As
we move into our 21st year we look forward to continuing our mission with our friends and supporters in the
surrounding Communities. Semper Fi

The Foundational Principles Set by SABTS Continues Today….

SCMFO’s primary mission continues to be to respond to the day-to-day requests for emergency assistance—including unexpected and un-budgeted financial challenges. During 2023 we provided more than $91,000 in Direct Assistance to military families. This financial assistance included paying for urgent car repairs, non-covered medical and dental expenses, purchasing air conditioners or air purifiers to help children with respiratory illnesses and for purchasing Commissary and MCX cards for food and gas. We have learned that the needs are endless for families at the pay grade of E6 and below who have a hard time making ends meet each month, let alone paying for unexpected, unbudgeted emergencies.
SCMFO’s claim to fame (especially on base) remains our annual Thanksgiving Meal giveaway providing 1,000 families turkeys and all the fixings they need for a great Thanksgiving dinner! These costs exceeded $44 per meal in 2023! In addition to Thanksgiving, SCMFO held or supported morale events targeting other needs of military families including the January Baby Shower for 45 expectant military moms and Month of the Military Child. We have also had Family Valentine’s Day, Family Luaus, Easter, Father’s Day and Back-to-School events - among others - in the recent past. Also, when SCMFO is approached by caring community groups with similar objectives, we do whatever we can to facilitate their projects (or ministries) to benefit the families we serve.

How We Connect with Families

We couldn’t do what we do without the help of Deployment Readiness Coordinators (DRCs), formerly called Family Readiness Officers (FROs) on base who refer families to us for help. Our other invaluable resources are our selfless, tireless, dedicated military wives’ liaisons. These women (military spouses, who are also volunteers or members of our Board) make sure families know about us on base, handle outreach and RSVPs for our baby shower and springtime tea/luau, refer wives to us for assistance, and help coordinate events large (like the Turkey Give Away) and small (like the gift wrapping party we host at Christmas time). They are essential to our mission and we love them.

Fundraising & Spending

SCMFO’s fundraising includes a wide range of events or activities spread throughout the year. During 2023 we sent a direct marketing campaign, held our first ever Garden Tour, held a Virtual Auction and Luncheon at Camp Pendleton during the Salute to Military Stars Fundraising Week and concluded with the return of the Mary’s Feast Celebration.
These events and activities, together with donations from individuals, groups and have enabled us to budget approximately $125,000 during 2024 for direct emergency assistance and morale events. Because we continue to operate as an all-volunteer organization, enjoy minimal overhead and receive substantial in-kind donations, we are able to use 95% of our funds toward providing direct benefits for military families at Camp Pendleton. Our budget and financial records are maintained based on rigorous accounting practices and procedures.
Recent Events

Mary’s Feast:

Upon inception the Annual United Methodist Women’s Christmas Dinner at St. Andrew’s by-the-Sea UMC (“SABTS”) was held in the church’s Fellowship Hall. Women attending enjoyed their festive meal, served by the Men’s group (festively dressed with red ties). Enjoyed by all that attended, the dinner served as the “kick-off” for the Advent season.

Beginning in 2003 pastoral leadership at SABTS began inviting other churches in the San Clemente area to attend and celebrate with them. By 2006 the annual Christmas dinner had taken on the name “Mary’s Feast” and began to evolve as the women were encouraged to bring presents to give to the baby Jesus. Those baby items (diapers, blankets, clothing) were then donated to Friends of San Onofre Marines (“FOSOM”)” to support their efforts of providing needed aid to the young families at the north end of Camp Pendleton. During 2008 SABTS accepted FOSOM’s role and integrated efforts into a new Church ministry called San Clemente Military Family Outreach (“SCMFO”). Concurrent with this, in 2009 SABTS developed a new vision for Mary’s Feast and became more inclusive and invited others in the community to participate firsthand being the “hands and feet of Jesus” for this Advent Celebration.

Many years since then have passed and we estimate that there have been over 1,000 people that have attended the celebration covering over 20 churches and community organizations. We also estimate that over 100 businesses in the San Clemente (and surrounding areas) have donated items for our silent auction at the event every year. For information about the recently held 2023 Mary’s Feast Celebration click here.

Variety Shows:

The SCMFO Variety Shows, held from 2008 to 2015 (8 years!) were the brainchild of Bob Crittendon, who produced every one of them. The shows were held in the auditorium at the San Clemente Community Center downtown. The tickets prices were kept fairly reasonable and the overhead minimal, so we always had a full house and raised a nice amount of money. The appreciative crowd enjoyed great entertainment arranged by Bob, often gratis, plus the “Stars of Tomorrow”—local high schoolers who had excelled in a talent competition. A raffle was our main fundraiser at the event, along with sales from a snack bar. It was always a joyful night with lots of great fellowship. And Bob always looked great in his tux!
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