AFAF honors more than 500 Marines at Thanksgiving celebration

The nonprofit American Friends of Armed Forces (AFAF) hosted its 15th annual "Adopt a Marine" Thanksgiving celebration at 29 Palms Marine Base on Nov. 23 to honor and thank the troops' service to our country.

In partnership with Toscana Country Club, AFAF was able to provide a celebratory barbecue lunch for more than 500 Marines that included games and gifts for the troops.

AFAF volunteers thank troops for their service through Thanksgiving barbecue lunch and gifts.

AFAF was founded by Walt and Judy Van Benthuysen 16 years ago and is bigger today than they could have imagined. Walt’s goal for the celebration is to let the young Marines know they are valued, honored and respected for the hard work they dedicate their lives to. “They don’t often have a day like today, where they can come and enjoy themselves, have lunch, have a gift and then go on with the rest of their training for the day,” he said.

Servicing five bases in Southern California, the all-volunteer AFAF organization has raised more than $4 million for supporting programs that benefit military personnel deployed at bases throughout the southwest U.S. The programs support the financial, social and emotions needs of the nation’s military, and provide for families, children and troops in combat zones.

The organization also arranged for the Marines to spend their Thanksgiving Day at a traditional dinner near the base to share in the special holiday.

To learn more about AFAF and to see how you can help, call (760) 340-0392 or visit

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: AFAF honors more than 500 Marines at Thanksgiving celebration