OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Among those serving lunch to the thousands of hungry and homeless at San Francisco’s St. Anthony’s dining room Thursday was U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Christine Carter.
"It comes with why we even join the military in the first place. We want to be able to give back to the people. But we don't always get the opportunity to actually give back. A lot of us were excited to get the opportunity to do this," said Carter
Carter was one of about 35 members of the Marines and Navy, not only serving their country, but who also spent the day serving meals to the homeless. All are in the Bay Area for Fleet Week.
But in an ironic twist, many of the people the military men and women are serving are veterans who have fallen on hard times.
"It's kind of sad to see a lot of individuals end up like they are. You just never know what they've dealt with in their lives. To see them now it touches your heart," said U.S. Navy Petty Officer Lorne Mayfield.
Mayfield sailed up from San Diego.
"I just let them know I am Navy police and I just give them a little rundown of what to do on the ship and on the base. A lot of them are wowed by it," said Mayfield.
One man receiving lunch says he is a former Marine who lost his job, then his home.
He says he appreciates swapping stories with those who are serving their country and serving those who have fallen behind.
"They have their stories. But we go through the same things...takes me back. But I am proud that they are still around and still serving," said homeless veteran Hilmer Ellner.
"They come here and just want to eat, talk, relax. They're happy to have a conversation with people. It's really cool to talk to people and get their life story," said Carter.
This is the third year in a row people from the armed forces have come to St. Anthony's during Fleet Week. It is fast becoming an annual tradition.