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Military families enjoy fresh produce thanks to local market


Last updated 12/15/2006 at Noon

Daniel’s Apple Market employee Blaise Latorre is not your ordinary produce manager. “He’s one of a kind,” says Jim Lund, store director. Patty Dutra, associate director of the Military Outreach Ministry, agrees with Lund and takes it one step further, adding, “Nobody does what Blaise does.” Both Jim and Patty are referring to Latorre’s constant dedication to the Military Outreach Ministry produce distribution.

The Military Outreach Ministry is a nonprofit Christian organization that exists to provide support to young enlisted families – rank E5 and below – at Camp Pendleton. The program began during World War II and provides physical and emotional support to those families that need it the most. They provide distribution of staples along with fresh produce to approximately 400 to 800 families each month at discounted prices. During the Thanksgiving holiday, 800 families were part of the program.

Latorre became involved with the program after an anonymous patron of Daniel’s Apple Market started purchasing and donating $400 of her own money to provide for the families’ produce needs. Latorre, who comes from New York, has a special soft spot in his heart for military families. “My wife’s father was in the Air Force,” he says, “so I know what it’s like moving around and having a family member overseas.” It was then that Latorre started working with Dutra and the Military Outreach Ministry.

“Blaise Latorre is amazing,” says Dutra. “He provides fresh quality produce at incredible prices. The families receive onions, potatoes, bananas and apples along with whatever else he can figure in the pricing. I am very pleased we met and it’s been great working with him for the last three months.”

To show their appreciation of Latorre’s hard work, Military Outreach Ministry recently presented Latorre, a 19-year employee and local Oceanside resident, an acrylic star engraved with the words “Thank you for being a star supporter of Military Outreach Ministry.”

Said Latorre after receiving his award, “Instead of paying for those yellow stickers on cars and windows, people should purchase produce for needy military families. We all should help out and support our troops.”


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