Online Originals: Operation Homefront’s ‘Back-to-School Brigade’ gives out backpacks, school supplies to 500 military kids

School Watch

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Operation Homefront’s “Back-to-School Brigade” kicked off Friday morning, giving out backpacks and school supplies to 500 military kids in Jacksonville. 

Operation Homefront says it’s more important than ever before to support military families by eliminating financial challenges and giving them one less thing to worry about. 

“We have 500 backpacks that we’re handing out today, for our elementary school all the way up to high school,” Operation Homefront Team Captain Kandy Mitteff said. 

In Onslow County, back-to-school season is just around the corner. This drive-through event took place at the Marine Federal Credit Union headquarters in Jacksonville. 

“Basically helping military families that are around the area or maybe new to the area to get some school supplies for the new up and coming school year,” said Mitteff. 

The program helps alleviate the costs of school supplies, allowing military families to use those funds for other critical needs. 

“You don’t think about how much school supplies mean,” said Mitteff. “I mean, it costs a lot.” 

During this year’s campaign, they will reach over 450,000 backpacks donated since 2008. This means they have saved military families over $50 million in back-to-school expenses. 

“The thank-yous that we get from the military members that, you know, are just coming to the community, we have so many that say, you know, ‘I just got here and my FRO or, you know, my command told me sign up for this program’,” said Mitteff. 

Military spouse and mother Chelsea Severino’s husband just got deployed. She says things like this help raise her children’s spirits. 

“They look forward to things like this, where maybe dad couldn’t be with us to go do this stuff when it kind of takes their mind off of him being gone,” said Severino. 

Severino said her son is excited to start school. She said this helps her family a lot. 

“It means a lot to them, my oldest, and he’s starting kindergarten. And he’s super excited. And this just helps take a little bit of the burden off of our family,” said Severino. 

Operation Homefront also launched its “Start Strong, Stay Strong” program in March. This helps bring much-needed attention to the service of military families. 

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