Marine Parents Organization Receives $25,000 Grant

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COLUMBIA - Thanks to a $25,000 grant, is working on expanding services offered to injured Marines and their families. provides many different services to injured soldiers and their families. The grant, awarded by the Paul E. Singer Foundation, will go toward Marine Parents' Purple Heart Family Support program. That program provides support services at the San Diego Naval Medical Center and the Walter Reed Military Medical Center. The Purple Heart program serves warm meals to the wounded soldiers and their families two weeks out of every month. In addition, the program provides "The Wounded Warrior Handbook" for free.

Marine Parents Founder and Executive Director Tracy Della Vecchia said she has big plans for the grant money. She is working to expand the meal services to not just Marines, but other branches as well. Additionally, she is working to incorporate a journal along with the items the program gives out. Della Vecchia said those journals are important because they allow soldiers and their family members to keep track of medical information, doctor contacts, and other important information families will need for years after a Marine is discharged. She said after an accident, families don't want to spend time worrying about keeping track of that information, instead they want to spend time at their Marine's bedside. She hopes the journals, as well as "The Wounded Warrior Handbook" will make life for families of injured soldiers a little easier.

Della Vecchia started the program's website after her son joined the Marines. After he was deployed, Della Vecchia was left with many questions. She didn't know how she could get in contact with him, if she could send him care packages, or if he could contact her at all. She began researching and found that information would be helpful to other Marine parents. has expanded to include several services to Marines and their families. The Purple Heart program is just one of many programs. Others include The Care Package Project, Operation PAL, Team Marine Parents, Operation Freedom Ballot. Marine Parents accepts help from any volunteers, not just parents of Marines. For more information about how to get involved or make a donation, visit their website at