I have a wonderful story to tell you about an amazing store called Smart & Final. Without asking for anything in return, they offered to provide everything for our Thanksgiving dinner for 25+ US Service Members. Such a beautiful story needs every detail, so let me first begin with a little bit of history...
Everything starts at the beginning...
This is where it gets "mushy!":
Ever since I was a little girl, I can remember my Father always telling me to be thankful and appreciative to/for our Military. Anywhere we went, he thanked them, he would buy them little things, like a coffee or something of the sort. My Father passed away when I was 5 years old, but a lot of his loving nature has stayed with me throughout my life. My wish while in Junior High was to join the Marines when I "grew up", but changed my mind due to severe migraines. In High School, I tried to follow my dream again, but I had to drop out of school to care for my mother. There ended my dreams but not my Love. Throughout the years I volunteered with anything I could that involved supporting our Military.
In 1999 I met this guy, annoying and silly, a story of which I will tell later ;) I ended up marrying this guy 2 months later, and 1 month later he left on his 1st deployment. I had no idea what the lifestyle was like. Then I found out 1 month into the deployment that I was 6 weeks pregnant. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions! I was alone, pregnant, and with my husband in the middle east, I was a wreck! I got phone calls from my husband telling me about how lonely it was over there, and how the majority of his friends would get no mail; so I started baking once a week and shipping packages to them. It felt so great to hear about how happy my cookies were making everyone. Then I found Soldier's Angels. I signed up, not for my Husband to receive letters and care packages, but for me to be able to make other Soldiers feel some love as well. Ever since 1999 I have been adopting Service members. I send letters, care packages, and ship home baked goodies. I have never sent a care package with enough for one Service member, I always make sure I send enough for the entire unit. It's only right, right?!That year, as my Husband was overseas I decided that I was going to do what I could so that other Service members didn't feel as lonely as him. I cooked Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner at our little apartment, I adopted Sailors through the USO and had them enjoy a day of relaxation and food. Ever since that year, we have always cooked and invited any Service members that we know of, that don't have Family out here, for every Holiday.
Last year was the hardest for us, we couldn't even afford a Thanksgiving day dinner for our Family, the paycheck didn't come in on time. We made the best of it, we ate sandwiches, watched TV, and made crafts. We still enjoyed ourselves but felt bad that we couldn't invite anyone else from the base. That Sunday after Thanksgiving, we received our paycheck, bought turkey on "clearance", invited a few single Military members we know, and had a double reason to say Thanks; we had our Thanksgiving dinner on a Sunday ;) This year, my husband and I had already spoken about this Thanksgiving. With us having to move in 45 days and with absolutely no money for 1st month's rent and a deposit, there was no way we were going to be able to host a Thanksgiving dinner for our Military again.
This is where it gets "mushy!":
The Friday before Thanksgiving week I got a call. On the other side was an "Angel"! What? You didn't know they have phones? They do! I was told that Smart & Final heard what I did for our Troops and wanted to help me! Little ol' me!!! I was beyond words, She told me that I was going to be receiving help to be able to host our ENTIRE DINNER!!! She also told me that they were going to provide EVERYTHING I needed, from food to paperwares!!!! I cried, I was so happy, I couldn't believe it, what a Blessing!!! She informed me that it would be enough for me to host 25 Service Members. She was so lucky, see if this had been a face to face meeting, I would have "professionally" jumped over the table and tackled her with a hug, the same would have happened to anyone that would have been at that meeting ;)
Not being able to have a Thanksgiving dinner at our house with our Family would have been a tiny bit sad but we would have been okay, not being able to give some Service members a home cooked Holiday dinner and just some Family company was the only thing we were ALL concerned with. I am definitely going to post EVERYTHING about that night and leading up to it, but I had to start from the beginning, after all; every Miracle has a beginning right?
This has been such a wonderful experience to show the world how such a large company can make Miracles happen for the tiniest of people ;)