SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) held its monthly Neighborhood Exchange at their headquarters in the Murphy Canyon military housing area Nov. 18.
The Neighborhood Exchange provides bags of free food along with other items, such as children's books, clothes and diapers, to military families living in the Murphy Canyon and Sierra Mesa area.
"We hold this event each month because we provide assistance to families for emergencies, and we just wanted to do something on a broader scale," said Brittany Catton, ASYMCA director of development and public relations. "This event allows us to help military families stretch their pay checks each month, so they're able to spend their money on other important things, such a school supplies."
The ASYMCA partners with the San Diego Food Bank to provide the donated items for the event and is open to anyone who qualifies.
"All the food that we provide to the families is donated by the food bank and provides about 12,000 military families with food each year," Catton said. "We welcome any family that meets the food banks income qualifications and lives in the 92123 and 92124 area to come and participate."
Along with the food giveaway, Vons came out to give the families a special thank you by holding a military appreciation barbeque.
"We held this lunch today because southern California is the capital area for military, and Vons wanted to thank the service members for everything that they do," said Robert Pereda, Vons representative. "They put their lives on the line every day protecting this country and this is just the least that we could do."
One participant, Beth Nason, said the event not only allows her to get food but also provides an opportunity to meet other families in the area.
"We all live on pretty limited budgets in the military and this exchange allows me to stay within that budget, which reduces a lot of stress," Nason said. "Another important part of this event is that it allows a person to get out and network with others, which is important because we all need people that we can relate to and understand."
The Neighborhood Exchange is held on the fourth Thursday of each month at the Paul Hartley Complex in Murphy Canyon from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
For more information and for income guidelines, visit www.militaryymca.org or call (858) 751-5755.
For more news from Navy Region Southwest, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrsw/.