WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Thanksgiving is a day meant to be shared with family and friends, but some here in the Port City chose to invite strangers into their homes.
More than 100 Marines traveled to the Wilmington Thursday to spend Thanksgiving with families they never met.
“It means a lot. I’ve never had anyone, especially strangers take me in and feed me such good food,” said Cpl. Riley Jantz.
Cpl. Jantz and Pvt. Alfilio Martiniez spent the day with the Barnette family.
Cpl. Jantz says he has spent the past several years alone on Thanksgiving and is grateful to be able to spend this year with such a wonderful family.
“Every day I wake up and I go to work, then home and then back to work. You don’t feel love. When you come to places like this you feel love,” said Jantz.
Pvt. Martiniez just finished boot camp. He says he is thankful to be spending a day in a home filled with so much love.
“I’m thankful for actually getting a chance to become part of this new family,” said Martinez.
The Barnette’s say this is their first time hosting Marines for Thanksgiving. They say they hope this experience will teach their two young boys what it means to give back.
“I’m most thankful for the fact that anyone can be family. It’s so special to be able to bring anyone into your home and to make them feel like a part of your group,” said Carrie Barnette.
75 families hosted Marines this year in New Hanover County.