Erika Barner, our Director of Events & Fundraising went with me on Monday to visit the San Diego office of STEPsocal. They are an organization focused on helping junior military stationed in Southern California. A snippet from their website is shown below and describes the STEP mission.
STEP assists junior active duty enlisted members and recently discharged enlisted veterans and their families in Southern California facing financial crisis achieve long term financial self-sufficiency through counseling, educations and grants to alleviate critical near term obligations.
We met with Tony Teravainen, President & CEO and Kathi Bradshaw, Vice President. We talked about our backgrounds, corporate missions and personal hopes. I found myself agreeing, saying "of course" and being awed at their compassion, drive and commitment to serve those that are serving our country. Erika shared a personal story that described the significant societal rewards of believing that everyone has unlimited potential and treating them in exactly that way.
We talked though ideas on how we might work together to end the number one issue that affects our enlisted citizen-patriots; hunger. The issue of hunger and poor nutrition is undeniable and pervasive within the junior ranks of our military. We are hopeful, though. And our new friends agreed that Produce for Patriots can have a positive impact on the lives and health of our in-need military families.
Tony and Kathi gave Erika and I some great ideas that we are busy implementing; they gave us contacts that we are following up and they gave us motivation and encouragement that we will use every day.
I hope that we will connect with the STEP team again as we expand the outreach of Produce For Patriots.