Operation Homefront Backpack Brigade; school supplies draw smiles

Military families of E-6 and below with school age children from K-12 browse through the many school-supply itmes with their brand new packpacks, filling them with up to 30 items at the 136th Airlift Wing, Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, Aug.15, 2014. Operation Homefront Back Pack Brigade partners with Dollar Tree and Office Depot poviding the free school supplies to military kids. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert/released)

Military families of E-6 and below with school age children from K-12 browse through the many school-supply itmes with their brand new packpacks, filling them with up to 30 items at the 136th Airlift Wing, Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, Aug.15, 2014. Operation Homefront Back Pack Brigade partners with Dollar Tree and Office Depot poviding the free school supplies to military kids. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert/released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jose Cedillo, 136th Communications Flight, Texas Air National Guard, browses through the many school-supply items to fill his children's pack backs during the Operation Homefront Back Pack Brigade giveaway held at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, Aug. 15, 2014. Military members E-6 and below with school-age children from grades k-12 receive back packs from this annual event. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert/released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jose Cedillo, 136th Communications Flight, Texas Air National Guard, browses through the many school-supply items to fill his children's pack backs during the Operation Homefront Back Pack Brigade giveaway held at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, Aug. 15, 2014. Military members E-6 and below with school-age children from grades k-12 receive back packs from this annual event. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert/released)

Military Children from grades k-12 walk away with pack packs almost too heavy for them to carry with big smiles on their faces during the Operation Homefront Back Pack Brigade giveaway held at the 136th Airlift Wing, Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, Aug. 15, 2014. This annual event provides free school supplies to the children. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert/released)

Military Children from grades k-12 walk away with pack packs almost too heavy for them to carry with big smiles on their faces during the Operation Homefront Back Pack Brigade giveaway held at the 136th Airlift Wing, Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, Aug. 15, 2014. This annual event provides free school supplies to the children. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert/released)

NAVAL AIR STATION FORT WORTH JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas -- More than 250 children received backpacks filled with school supplies here at the 136th Airlift Wing Headquarters building, Aug. 15, during Operation Homefront Back-To-School Backpack Brigade giveaway.

"This is a good program for all the military kids in the area," said Mrs. Heidi Bearden, Airmen Family Readiness Program Manager. "The families of those E-6 and below, who registered with Operation Homefront, receive a backpack for every school age child from K-12. And
this year we had a tremendous amount of support from our sponsors that we were able to give the school-age children up to 30 items."

The backpacks were lined up according to the child's grade and vary from $30 to $50 backpacks for the high school students. Once the child or parent receives the backpack, they are then allowed to browse the entire room in search of the 30 items their child needs to start school. Compared to last year, only eight items were allowed to be taken. The items varied from rulers to calculators, notebooks, pens, pencils, binders, book covers, glue and
numerous other items on display.

The backpack giveaway has been hosted here in the wing for the past four years
and seven years nationally. The school supplies were provided by Operation Homefront partners Dollar Tree and Office Depot. "There were no shortages of school supplies," said
Bearden. "In fact, we have leftover school supplies even after providing all the registered
participants of Operation Homefront their much needed items."

School-age children from all grades were excited to receive the much needed school supplies. Most walked away with backpacks too heavy for them to carry but somehow managed to lug them on their back with big smiles on their faces.