An organization of veteran Marines and Navy Corpsmen -- along with a Palm Desert branch of an upscale grocery chain -- is collecting money to provide Christmas dinners for the families of young Marines deployed in Afghanistan.
The drive began Monday and will continue through Dec. 22 at 73601 Hwy 111, organizers said.
"This Christmas will be extremely difficult for those young enlisted Marine families whose husbands are fighting in Afghanistan," said Jim Sullivan, retired Marine and past president of the Desert Cities Mitchell Paige Medal Of Honor Chapter of the 1st Marine Division Association.
That group is sponsoring the drive with Jensen's.
"We want to help these families and make sure that they have everything they need for a wonderful Christmas dinner,” Sullivan said.
“We also want to provide Christmas dinners for the families of the Wounded Warrior Detachment at 29 Palms who are recovering from wounds and injuries.
"Most will leave the Marine Corps and be transitioned into civilian life,” Sullivan said.
Volunteer veterans from the 1st Marine Division Association will collect donations outside the Palm Desert Jensen’s Finest Foods store from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, through Dec. 15.
However, donations can also be made at Jensen’s check-out stands every day the stores are open now through December 22, 2012.
"It's a great morale booster for young enlisted Marines to know their families are taken care of over the holidays,” Sullivan said.
Jensen’s Vice-President Matt Zack said the stores are proud to join the veterans in their drive.
"We’ll make sure this effort is a success by stretching every dollar to the max and doing whatever is necessary to give great value in every dinner,” Zack said.
He added that every family delivery will contain a thawed whole turkey, Jensen’s Homemade cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, fruit pie and a bag of rolls; enough to feed up to six people.
"The Marines have always been there for our country and for the children at Christmas with their toy drives," Zack said.
"I love that Jim Sullivan brought this need to us. We hope we raise enough money to provide for every Marine family that needs help,” Zack said.
The 1st Marine Division Association is a nonprofit veterans 501 (c) (19) organization and donations are tax deductible, organizers said.