Back-to-School Brigade provides school supplies to military children
(From left) Lonzia Hawkins Jr., a CECOM civilian and Operation Homefront volunteer, presents a backpack to CW4 Antonio Belmar, from the 20th Support Command (CBRNE) and his son Antonio, Jr., during the Operation Homefront's Back-to-School Brigade at Shore Park Aug. 19.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Volunteers from Operation Homefront DC Metro distributed 1,000 backpacks and school supplies to APG military children during the Back-to-School Brigade at Shore Park Aug. 19.

This program helps offset the back-to-school expenses for military Families. According to Operation Homefront DC Metro Program Manager Roseanne Coleman, more than 5,000 backpacks were distributed to military Families in the DC Metro area last week. This is the fourth consecutive year that Operation Homefront Metro DC hosted this event on APG with assistance from Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and Army Community Service.

"The number of people who register for this event grows every year," Coleman said. "We have been spreading the word through social media."

In addition to donated backpacks, children received essential back-to-school items such as pens, pencils, markers, crayons, notebook paper, rulers, colored pencils, calculators, and erasers. This event was made possible through corporate sponsors like BAE Systems, Dollar Tree, SAIC, and Singhal.

"Back-to-school shopping can be very overwhelming, especially for single parents," said Staff Sgt. Sekiah Bailey, from Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic, who picked up backpacks and supplies for her three children. "The lists can be long and demanding. Having free backpacks reduces the overall cost of back-to-school shopping."

Gold Star Family Member Daylin Armstead, a college freshman, said he appreciates receiving free supplies.

"It gives me a good feeling to see that they are helping kids," he said. "Military children also make sacrifices, they deserve the recognition."

Staff Sgt. John Sorensen, from HHC, 20th Support Command (CBRNE), said that the event was a fun way to kick off the new school year for his three children.

"It's pretty cool," he said. "Definitely a morale boost."

"Philanthropy to our Soldiers and their Families is very important to our corporate culture," said Dr. Chris D'Ascenzo from BAE Systems, who helped distribute supplies with a team of APG ccontractors.

"Throughout the year we give back to the military in different ways," he said.Operation Homefront Metro DC is a nonprofit organization that provides emergency services and financial assistance to families of active duty service members and Wounded Warriors in Maryland, Virginia and the Washington, D.C.

Page last updated Thu August 22nd, 2013 at 16:22