About/Our Story

Mission Statement:

Dine on Us is on a mission to provide off base dining and entertainment opportunities for our active military families who are not able to do so due to economic hardships. 

It was brought to our attention that our active enlisted military families are on a pay scale low enough to qualify them for government assisted programs like food stamps and WIC.  They were living in poverty prior to the Covid pandemic even with an additional second income.  As soon as the pandemic hit, the spouse had to quit his/her job or quarantine off base for two weeks before he/she was able to return home.

Now that the restrictions have loosened, the spouses are still limited to work because the outsourced day care is still not allowed back on the base and the spouse’s professional licenses are not transferrable to the state of New Jersey.

Dine on Us was denied access to bring meals to the base, so we decided to find ways to get the military families off the base:  either as a much-needed family night out, a long overdue date night, entertainment vouchers, a gas card, and groceries.  These are all the basic liberties of life that our active military cannot enjoy. 


“From our table to yours, Dine on Us”
“We have your families back, while you’re out there protecting ours”


The Next Chapter.....

As the Covid Pandemic passes and life begins to resemble the pre-covid days, it is time for us to go back to our grassroots, our family, and focus on a new mission at hand.

Our drive, passion, and commitment to the military still burns strong to this day. Recently it was brought to our attention that our Active Military Families are living on a poverty-level income and depend on government assistance programs like food stamps and WIC programs. This was even prior to the covid pandemic. However, prior to the pandemic many spouses were able to supplement their household incomes with a career of their own. Since the pandemic families and spouses have been under strict covid guidelines on the bases. Anyone conducting business off the base needed to quarantine therefore causing the spouses to leave their positions eliminating a second income. 

This call to action led me to the one person we knew could help! Chef Mike Jurusz of Chef Mike’s ABG in South Seaside Park. Like Mike did 10 years ago after Hurricane Sandy, when we created “if there is a need we will feed” as a thank you meal for all our first responders and military who were here helping us restore, he was ready to help once again! We began brainstorming for a day on a solution for our new mission of helping our Active Military Families!

24 hours later and we had a program ready to launch!

With our restaurant families fully behind us, we started collecting Gift Cards to support our Active Military Families with participating restaurants ready to offer a match. Purchase a gift card from one of the participating restaurants to be left as a donation for our active military families. Dine on Us personnel will stop at each restaurant to pick up those gift cards. When they do, the restaurant will donate a matching gift card of the same value.

Dine on Us will sort the gift cards into packages of five. Our mission is to give the 125 active military families living on our Joint Bases in NJ a long overdue night out with their family, a much-needed date night with their spouse, groceries, and a tank of gas. This is our way of saying: “From our table to yours, Dine on Us!” Thank you for your service. We have their families back, while they are protecting ours”. 

Sincerely,

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Cliff Baker, Founder, Dine on Us
"from our table to yours"
dineonus.org
732-814-2064


Active Military Living In Distress:

From our table to yours, Dine on Us!

The motivation behind our motto is to provide dining and entertainment opportunities for our active military families right here in NJ who are living in distress.  What has always been a concern has erupted since the start of the Covid Pandemic and now record high inflation.  SNAP applications for all active NJ Military Families in NJ are at an all-time high.  What started as a request for 125 families is now at 370.  Three hundred and seventy families just on the Joint Bases, Lakehurst, and now Earle.

 

Here are two of the primary reasons for their distress:

  1. On base housing is on an 18 month wait.  As they wait, they must rent off base housing.  An active military person ranked E5 with two children will receive $1,800.00 for housing.  The average cost of rent in NJ is $2500.00

  2. On base day care is on a 3-year wait.  The average cost of off base day care is $2600.00 a month.  An additional $400.00 a month for after hours.  That means the non-active spouse had to quit their second income to stay home with the children.

Our active military families start their month at least $700.00 in the hole.

 

This was brought to the attention of Washington, DC and The Red Cross was told to “Bridge the Gap” as Washington sets up a committee to evaluate the situation.

 

Dine on Us is on a mission to provide “CARE PACKAGES” to these families.  Our package will average $250.00 and include dining and entertainment opportunities.  Offer them some quality of life as a thank you for their service as they continue to protect us.  Let’s show them we do care, we do appreciate, and we do support our US military.   

 

“From our table to yours, Dine on Us”

“We have your families back, while you’re out there protecting ours”

501(c)3 organization - EIN #88-1338863