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Back-to-School Brigade collects supplies for children of service members

Date: 8/6/2012

SPRINGFIELD — Operation Homefront, the national non-profit that provides emergency financial and other assistance to military families and Wounded Warriors, has announced its annual Back-to-School Brigade program to collect school supplies for military kids. Operation Homefront, and its organizations and volunteers, across the nation will begin collecting donated school supplies, along with monetary donations, that they will distribute to the children of service members at the beginning of the school year in the fall.

This year marks the sixth annual campaign by Operation Homefront to give the children of military families the opportunity to start school with all the supplies they need to be successful. Anyone interested in helping military kids can log on to or to learn more about how to volunteer or make a donation.

"Military families, especially those in the lower and mid-grade enlisted ranks, can see a real money crunch at back-to-school time," Jim Knotts, president and CEO of Operation Homefront, said. "People in the community who want to say thank you to military families can make a real contribution by being part of the Back-to-School Brigade program."

At a recent Operation Homefront event honoring military kids, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey said, "It's incredible to watch the young men and women of our military families grow up. We have a lot to be thankful for, and military children are probably right at the top of the list. Our kids have the unique opportunity to be whatever they want to be."

In 2011, the Back-to-School Brigade program raised more than $2 million in monetary donations and school supplies nationwide for military kids. Through the generosity of individual and corporate contributors, Operation Homefront provided 30,000 backpacks to fill with school supplies for children of military service members.

Local Springfield, Chicopee, and Holyoke area Dollar Tree stores are doing their part to be active with this program. Some of the locations can be found at Chicopee Marketplace on 591 Memorial Drive, Suite B in Chicopee, Springfield Plaza on 1379 Liberty St., Suite Z1-B in Springfield, and Holyoke Shopping Center on 2269 Northampton St., in Holyoke. The supplies that are purchased here will help out our country's youngest heroes. Customers can show their support to the troops by ensuring that their children have everything they need for the basics of education.