This past year during the pandemic, it’s been especially difficult for military families as they relocate from duty station to duty station. 

Operation Homefront’s Back-to-School Brigade offers a way to say thank you and take some stress off families before classes start up again. 

What You Need To Know

  • Operation Homefront helps military families transition between duty stations

  • Those moves have been made more difficult by the pandemic

  • The Back-to-School Brigade provides backpacks and school supplies

The event was open to active duty and ill or wounded veteran families in the Tampa area. 

“It’s really awesome and cool, and it’s really useful,” said 3rd grader Raelynn Kyle, as she took brand new supplies out of her backpack. 

For her family, these kinds of events mean a lot. 

“People get this image of ‘your housing is paid for, and all this is paid for when you live on base and stuff’, and it is. It’s very nice, but our paychecks don’t reflect,” said Joanna Kyle.

“Summer for most families is picnics and popsicles, and it’s a good time to have a break from school. But for military families, it’s PCS season. It’s when they’re moving or relocating away from a place they’ve called home for two or three years,” said Beth McGregor with Operation Homefront.

Once military families find a new home, there is a lot more to do with hardly any time.

“Then we’re going to have to find jobs. I’m going to have to get a second job or one job to just to help pay for the little things,” said Kyle.

Over the past year, it’s been difficult for many spouses to find work on short notice.

“They might not have that support network. They might not even know where their kids are going to school yet. So, if we can help them by providing backpacks and school supplies and give them a chance to network and meet some of their peers, it just takes one thing off their checklist,” McGregor said.

That’s why these events matter so much to the Kyle family and more than 200 other military children getting ready for school.

“You get to meet people and it’s just nice,” Kyle said.

Since 2008, Operation Homefront has helped military families save more than $50M in back-to-school supplies.