PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. — In preparation for the upcoming school year the Presidio School Liaison Office conducted its annual ‘Summer Expo’ and handed out nearly 800 sets of school supplies to the children of military families. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year’s event was held as a drive-thru giveaway.
The event kicked off in the morning at the La Mesa Community Center, before moving to the Stillwell Community Center at Ord Military Community for the afternoon. Carloads of parents and their kids lined up at each site to receive backpacks, lunch bags and other supplies.
Cara Rosson, a military spouse who drove her two kids, Annie and Sam, through the event, shared that her daughter Annie, “Enjoyed the drive-thru because she got the spiral art set, a decorative pink lunch bag and a big box of crayons. All of these items made it worth the wait!”
Rosson added that her son Sam was, “Excited to receive his camo lunch bag. Although his father is in the Navy, he wants to be a tank commander in the Army. He thought it was so cool that his camo lunch bag matched his camo gaiter mask.”
While the pandemic affected how the event was held, hundreds of families were able swing by and pick up school supplies while avoiding large crowds and maintaining social distancing guidelines.
“The event was very successful. We had a total of 394 participants at the La Mesa Community Center location and 392 participants at the Stilwell Community Center location.” Said Elaine Vrolyks, School Liaison Officer.
For four years, the Summer Expo has readied families for the return to school. This year’s event was organized by the Summer Expo Planning Committee which has representatives from Army Community Services, the Parks at Monterey Bay, Naval Support Activity Monterey School Liaison Office, and the Monterey Bay Military Housing Mayoral Program.
“We receive school supply donations from local Dollar Tree stores through Operation Home Front,” said Vrolyks. “The Summer Expo helps us get the supplies out to the families as well as highlight the garrison support agencies.”
This annual event also has a sister-event in December, the Winter Expo where toys are donated through Operation Home Front and distributed to military families.