The pandemic has put a strain on troops, especially those overseas, but one local Marine Corps veteran is continuing his non-stop efforts to help out as many service members as he can.
“We just have to keep our guys knowing that we support them being over there and the only way I know how to do that is to write them letters, cards and send them boxes,” said San Luis Obispo resident and Marine Corps veteran Si Tenenberg.
Over the last 14 years, Tenenberg and his volunteers have worked to pack and ship boxes to troops overseas.
The Korean War veteran says this year has even more meaning for him since receiving fewer donations and supplies due to the pandemic is making their mission harder.
Tenenberg says the number of boxes being shipped out now is about half of what they’re used to.
“We’re delivering 16 boxes to the post office up in Templeton so that they can mail them to our troops. We’re back to at least close to 16-20 boxes a week,” he says.
He adds that every letter he’s received from a service member this year has mentioned the coronavirus or that stores are closed and troops don’t have supplies they need, so Tenenberg says he feels responsible for making sure they do.
“It’s year-long. We do it 51 weeks a year when I can, if we have the emails from the guys and the supplies to put in the boxes. If those two things come together, we pack boxes,” Tenenberg says.
“We have a heart for helping the soldiers out - a young man who’s in the desert or wherever they are in the world, they deserve all the support we can give them,” said another volunteer helping pack boxes on Tuesday.
Each box costs about $20 to ship overseas.
Even with fewer volunteers this year, the organization expects to have shipped out roughly 700 boxes in 2020.
To find out how to help or to donate to Si Tenenberg’s cause, click here.