‘Brigade’ gives military families back-to-school lift

Hundreds of military families turned out to pick up school supplies and backpacks, courtesy of the Operation Homefront Back-to-School Brigade.

Area representatives of the national nonprofit on Wednesday afternoon turned the Hotel Dayton in Harrison Twp. into its back-to-school headquarters to give away 300 backpacks and school supplies to military children, kindergarten through 12th grade.

Program Director Sherri Beck said Walmart contributed 200 backpacks and Dollar Tree consumers contributed school supplies. Others partners in the project are SAIC and Honda Financial Services, according to the nonprofit.

Operation Homefront’s mission is to lend emergency and financial assistance to military families, Beck said, especially families where one or both parents are E1 (private in the Army/airman basic in the Air Force) to E6 (staff sergeant in the Army/technical sergeant in the Air Force), the lowest ranked and lowest paid soldiers in the military.

“We’re helping lessen that burden going back to school,” Beck said.

Nationally, the back-to-school-brigade continues through Aug. 20. The program has delivered more than 230,000 backpacks and school supplies to military children nationwide since the program started in 2008.

Beck said families who came out to the hotel on Wagner Ford Road are “happy. A little bit always helps go a long way. They can’ believe there are people out there that help them.”