Opening their homes to Coast Guard recruits for Thanksgiving

Coast Guard recruits in New Jersey enjoy home-cooked Thanksgiving meals from strangers who welcome them into their homes for a tradition known as Operation Fireside.

The American Red Cross for 33 years has united host families with the recruits at the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May.

Red Cross spokeswoman Laura Steinmetz says 160 families will host 350 recruits for Thanksgiving and 390 for Christmas this year.

Richard and Sheila Brown of North Wildwood are hosting 10 recruits at their Summer Nites bed-and-breakfast.

Lt. j.g. Kathleen Dillon says Operation Fireside was a nice mental break and gave her motivation to finish when she was a recruit.