Video by Chad Stewart and Eric Brandner

NAVAL STATION GREAT LAKES, Illinois—This is the home of the Navy’s only boot camp, which means it’s also home to many sailors separated from family and friends for the first time. The hearty, home-cooked breakfast at USO Great Lakes every Sunday morning is a delicious reminder of home for hundreds of service members who wait for the doors to open at 10 a.m.

USO Great Lakes volunteers arrive early to crack 30 dozen eggs, make hundreds of pancakes from scratch and cook bacon and sausage for hundreds of young sailors on base.

“It’s a great family environment here,” said Nancy Buckley, an Army mom and USO Great Lakes volunteer. “Knowing that they’re having a good meal and the smiles that they have on their [faces] really says it all.”

You can send a message of support and thanks directly to service members via the USO’s Campaign to Connect. Your messages will appear on screens at USO locations around the world.