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CSUSM student creates welcome home packages for service members

Posted at 8:32 AM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 12:38:29-04

SAN MARCOS (KGTV) -- Since CSU San Marcos student Adrianne McWilliams was young, the service was always near and dear to her heart.

"My dad was active duty for 20 years, so the first few years of my life I moved around a lot. When I was in elementary school, my mom started working for the Marine Corps," McWilliams said.

When she found out that those coming home from deployment wouldn't get the staple celebration she remembered as a child, McWilliams wanted to take matters into her own hands.

"It just kind of made me think about how when I was really young and my dad was deployed, whenever he came back there was always that big homecoming moment," McWilliams told 10News.

She created thank you and care packages for those returning home from duty.

"I'm doing everything I can to make sure that there's at least a little handwritten note on it that says 'welcome home' and 'thank you for your service' so at least they get that little bit of homecoming that they'd get if this were under usual circumstances," McWilliams added.

She included basic essentials like toiletries and snacks, something she said they could use since many of them have to self quarantine for two weeks before reuniting with family.

"Our Marines that are coming home do deserve a special homecoming. Coming home after a long deployment then having to quarantine is not an ideal situation," said McWilliams.

McWilliams gathered gifts and donations thanks to friends, family and community members, all from word of mouth and social media. Her first batch was given to 35 returning members.

"I've always liked giving back but when it's something I'm passionate about and have a personal connection to, the motivation is a little stronger and it's something that hits closer to home," she said.

On June 2, 50 packages will be given to another group of returning members.

McWilliams also had a message for those who may not have received a package from her upon their return: "Despite the circumstances, we do still see you and we are appreciate you."

Click here for more information on how to help with donations.