February 7, 2020
“Ever since becoming a military spouse, I’ve sought to become more knowledgeable in the customs and traditions,” Arika, Navy spouse, recently told Blue Star Families. “So, I dove into community events and devoted my time and energy to a plethora of volunteer activities to gain the wisdom needed to thrive.”
Arika met her husband, Chris, and had their son, Antonio, before military life. It was well into their marriage when Chris felt called to enlist — and Arika supported that decision.
To adjust to her new life, Arika educated herself about the military and got involved in the community by volunteering every chance she got. Since then, she’s found great joy in making her community stronger by planning events, organizing fundraisers, gifting scholarships, and advocating for better base housing.
Because of Arika’s efforts, several Navy spouses and family members have been positively impacted. That’s why we’ve selected her to be a “Champion of Chunky!” Arika fuels her military friends and family with her time and talent, every day.
Hold up. What’s a Champion of Chunky?
“Champions of Chunky” is a campaign we launched with Campbell’s Chunky Soup—our awesome Blue Star Neighbor! Now through the end of February, we’re recognizing military family champions holding down the fort in support of their service member who works long days and nights to keep Americans safe. Together, we’re fueling these rock stars all winter long with Champions of Chunky care packages.
Not to mention, this campaign is part of the Campbell Soup Company and Dollar General Corporation’s pledge to give back to military families. These companies recently teamed up to create limited-edition cans of two best-selling flavors of Chunky Soup: Classic Chicken Noodle and Sirloin Burger with Country Vegetables. As part of the initiative, a monetary donation will be made to Blue Star Families. (And you know we’ll put those funds to good use, providing members like YOU free access to our annual programs and events! 🙌)
But, the real winners here are the folks making a significant difference in their communities, like Arika.
So, to continue celebrating the campaign, here’s a glimpse into Arika’s real-life, mil-life, and a short overview as to why we selected her as a “Champion of Chunky!”
Get to know Arika:
Arika served as Ombudsman (Family Readiness Assistant) of Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton where she was the liaison between families of deployed service members and the Commanding Officer. Today, she functions as the Outreach and Event Coordinator for Marine Corps League-South Coast Detachment, organizing fundraising and outreach events helping Marines and Sailors aboard Camp Pendleton. She is also a member of the Military Spouse Association of Camp Pendleton, where she fundraises to provide grants and scholarships to military spouses and dependents.
Arika has become a major contributor, working closely with the founder of Homefront America, delivering much-needed assistance for military families throughout the year with programs, including Thanksgiving dinner kits, Easter baskets, Christmas toys, and deployment care kits. She sits on the Board of Directors for San Clemente Military Family Outreach, a nonprofit organization operating under an all-volunteer board and staff of 25 members with 100% of funds raised channeled back to military families by providing emergency financial assistance for gas, groceries, baby/children’s clothes, appliances, medical bills, and car repairs. Not to mention, she conducts moral events (baby showers, tea parties, luaus, donation distributions, toy giveaways, food giveaways, etc.) to military families aboard Camp Pendleton. And, as a Resident Advisor Board Member of Lincoln Military Housing, she participates in work groups to help identify areas of improvement within base housing communities and coordinates morale events for military families.
Ultimately, Arika is passionate about advocating and empowering the military community. She is a model citizen who has shown tremendous dedication to helping military families and molding her community.
All that to say, it’s obvious why we named Arika a “Champion of Chunky!” Blue Star Families and Campbell’s Chunky Soup are recognizing a total of six “Champions of Chunky,” and you can watch all of the heartwarming stories at https://bluestarfam.org/campbells/.
Lastly, Campbell’s Chunky Soup collectible cans are available at more than 16,000 Dollar General stores while supplies last.
Visit a store near you today, and share your support with us on social media by tagging #FuelingBlueStarFamilies!