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San Diego nonprofit helping military families in need

Posted at 3:46 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 18:46:38-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — "I need size 3 diapers please," said Nathalie Moreno-Flores, a hospital corpsman in the US Navy. "We got some beans. My child loves these."

Moreno-Flores is also a mother of two young children and the wife of a fellow sailor who recently completed active service.

On this day, she's getting some help with family supplies, along with some 200 other military families, at a special distribution event put on by step: Support the Enlisted Project or STEP.

"Glad to see so many can come and look for what they need," Moreno-Flores said.

Tracy Owens, the programs manager for STEP, said the group tries to help military families avoid having to decide between food or utility bills and other costs.

Founded in 2011, the non-profit works with several corporate and community partners, including Feeding San Diego, to provide a variety of essentials to military families in need, a mission that grew over the past year.

"When COVID came and everything started shutting down, we found that our military families we having trouble getting diapers. They were having trouble getting food. Very often we are the last stop before an actual crisis," said Owens.

"I was struggling mentally. He was struggling with like, getting his VA stuff and everything in general," said Moreno-Flores.

Moreno-Flores said the crisis peaked for her family during her second pregnancy when they were down to one income.

"We went into forbearance on our home. They helped with payments and car payments," she added.

On the advice of her Chief Petty Officer, Moreno-Flores reach out to STEP and was assigned a caseworker.

"They were so warm and welcoming and helpful," she said. "Really felt like I was getting a leg up in life again, rather than being kicked down."

"She was able to help her family and together they're stronger because of it," Owens added.