In 2017, the average family spent $500 per student for school supplies — this is up from $488 the previous year — and represents a significant expense for most American families.
This back to school season, Operation Homefront has revived their Back-to-School Brigade for the 10th consecutive year. Supplies purchased by Dollar Tree customers have been donated at collection boxes nationwide, and Homefront volunteers collect and distribute them at more than 60 events through the end of the summer.
If you haven’t heard of them, Operation Homefront is a national nonprofit dedicated to assisting military families across the United States.
“When combined with other childcare costs, many military families face difficult choices about whether to ensure their children are well supplied for school or whether to purchase other essential items for their family, including clothing and food,” a Homefront spokesperson said.
Instead of worrying about the rising cost of school supplies, Homefront wants to enable these families to use their income on other household expenses. Since 2008, they have successfully provided more than 300,000 backpacks to military children.
The remaining Back-to-School Brigade events can be found here: https://www.operationhomefront.org/event/list
If there is not an event near you, free school supplies may also be available through your local Family Readiness Group or affiliated organization.
Relief, resiliency, and recurring support is Homefront’s goal. Their mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families so that they can thrive – not simply struggle to get by – in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.
They provide relief from financial crisis with aid such as food assistance, auto and home repair, travel and transportation, and more. They want military families to gain long-term stability, and award mortgage-free homes and caregivers for wounded veterans. Through programs like their Back-to-School Brigade, Homefront also offers recurring support to military families in need.
Coming from humble beginnings, Operation Homefront was one of the many organizations created shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
“It started as a network of military spouses supporting each other as their service members were deployed overseas,” a Homefront spokesperson said. “Over time these networks formed in military communities all over the country, and eventually grew into a nationwide nonprofit organization.”
Operation Homefront’s promise is that 92% of their expenditures go directly into their programs and services.
So far, more than $22.5 million has gone to military families through the Critical Financial Assistance Program, purchasing things like groceries, rent, and utilities. 600 families have been awarded houses — that’s over $64 million in home equity. Homefront has given 19 students scholarships, put up over 500 families in rent-free transitional housing, supported 17,000 new parents, and served 80,000 families with holiday meals. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
This back to school season, and year-round, Operation Homefront serves those who serve with quality assistance that hundreds of thousands of families have benefited from.
To learn more about their mission and how you can help, visit: https://www.operationhomefront.org/