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Key Volunteers help single Marines feel at home for the holiday

By Lance Cpl. Laura A. Mapes | | November 29, 2007

 During the holidays, Marines aren’t always able to go home. Fortunately there are organizations like the Key Volunteer Network that work to make Marines feel more at home.

 The Key Volunteer Network hosted Operation Cookie Drop Nov. 21 at the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 bar¬racks.

 “We are bringing the Thanksgiving smell and home cooking to the Marines who might not be able to go home for the holiday,” said Candi Sansing, a member of the Key Volunteer Network.

 The KVN set up two tables covered with plates of food and ‘goodies,’ to include plates of cookies, brownies, assorted pies, cake, cheese with crackers, summer sau¬sage, and a variety of other items.

 More than 15 families donated food and goodies for Operation Cookie Drop. In addition to the food, the KVN also received a donation from the command, explained Gloria Gonzalez, Key Volun¬teer coordinator for Operation Cookie Drop.

 “We first got the idea while we were in Japan,” said Gonzalez, referring to the time she and her family spent overseas. “We tried it there and it was a big hit, all of the Marines in the barracks loved it.”

 “It feels great to have, even just a few, Marines giving you thanks for what you did,” said Sansing. “It feels good to bring smiles to Marines’ faces.”

 The KVN also sends care packages to Marines who are deployed overseas.

 “We stuff the packages with chips, trail-mix, toiletries, Gatorade, and other items Marines like to get when they are deployed,” said Gonzales. “We even make ‘welcome home’ packages for them when they return from a deployment.”

 The Key Volunteer Network is a com¬munication network, formed within a unit to keep families better informed about the mission and tasks of that unit, and to assist in establishing a sense of community within the unit. It is also a support network, providing information and the means for problem solving at the lowest possible level. This enables the unit to readily achieve and maintain a higher state of ‘family-readiness’, indi¬vidual Marines are better able to perform their assigned missions effectively and safely, thereby promoting a higher state of unit readi¬ness, according to www.usmc-mccs.org.

 While the KVN is pri¬marily focused on Marine families, they don’t forget the single Marines within their Marine Corps fami¬lies.

 “Marines do so much for us, and it is important not to forget them,” said Sansing.

 “This is fantastic. It’s great that the single Ma¬rines in the barracks know they have someone here who cares about them, and who can bring a little bit of home back to them,” said Cpl. Pablo Pineda, MALS 13 headquar¬ters training clerk.

 When Marines can’t go home for the holidays, they will have the Key Volun¬teer Network to make the barracks feel more like home.

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