Thursday, August 30, 2007

Backpacks for the kids

Operation Homefront organizes a Back-To-School backpack giveaway for military dependents. The Washington state chapter got together on Fort Lewis last weekend to hand out backpacks, loaded with supplies such as notebooks and pens/pencils, notecards, rulers, even crayons for the younger crowd.

We started off bright and early - I had to be at the base by 7am to join the caravan to the community center. Since I live an hour's drive north of the base, I was up way early. Good thing they provided coffee and donuts as promised, though!

We had plenty of Operation Homefront volunteers ...

And the 'customers' sure seemed happy ...

... Although many times the Moms looked much happier about the whole Back To School thing than the kids did ... *grin*.

We handed out backpacks from about 8am till 2:30 pm. There were moments of heavy scurrying, separated by periods where we wondered if we were taking hundreds of backpacks home with us! But at the end of the day, we packed the lack 20 or so into a car to be delivered to another post. Counting the 35 or so that were loaded up for one of the Navy base units, that means we handed out about 500 backpacks.

We had a blast. The chance to give back something tangible was wonderful. And the look on some of the parents faces as they realized that the backpacks were truly free -AND- came with supplies, was precious.

But my favorite moment happened when one of the Moms realized her phone was ringing. It was her husband, currently deployed in Iraq! She finished signing for the backpacks for her two girls, and they talked for a bit. Then he talked to the girls - who happily told Daddy all about their neat new backpacks. Their excitement absolutely made my day complete.