Through its Bells of Freedom program, local nonprofit Dance Hearts kicked off the annual Adopt-a-Marine Family for the Holidays event in October, culminating in The Big Thank You event at Camp Pendleton on Dec. 3. The event serves local military families during the holiday season by connecting them with community sponsors that provide emotional, spiritual, and financial help. The sponsors travel to Camp Pendleton to meet their “adopted” military families, deliver gifts, enjoy a catered lunch, visit from Santa, and a door prize drawing.

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Founded in 2001, Dance Hearts is dedicated to connecting in-service military men and women to the community they serve through holiday family “adoptions,” emergency support, and transitional housing for displaced women and children. The Bells of Freedom program originated at Camp Pendleton, but is quickly growing chapters in other areas throughout the country. Learn more at www.bellsoffreedom.org