Family, friends feed the troops

HORSHAM, Pa. - December 25, 2008 Every Christmas for the past five or six years, members of the Mangold family have loaded up their cars with food to deliver to troops working on the holiday at Willow Grove.

"We discovered that the young Marines at the Willow Grove Naval Airbase and other military there, the Army and Navy, really didn't have any place to eat Christmas day…so we decided to ask our friends and neighbors for help feeding them and they've come through," Andrea Mangold said.

This year, they had more food than ever, thanks to the efforts of Fran and Bob Dembowski.

The Dembowski's son, Private 1st Class Robert Dembowski Jr., was killed in Iraq in May 2007.

They last saw him at Fort Bragg on Christmas Eve two years ago. He worked that Christmas.

"When I got her e-mail, it just clicked. I wondered if Bobby got through that day because he had to work. I called Angie and said I have a lot of people I can e-mail with this, are you sure you want that much food?" Fran Dembowski said.

Once Fran Dembowski e-mailed her fellow Gold Star mothers about the Mangolds' Feed-the-Troops effort, some 30 families contributed. Casseroles and cookies, pasta and pizzelles, each platter filled not just with food, but with love.

"That's where it gets really poignant because those are the women that say I wish this could have been done for my son or I would like to think somebody in the world would have done this," Andrea said.

The Mangolds have received thank you so they know just how much their efforts and those of their neighbors are appreciated.

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