Local organization provides school supplies to children of military families

NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Two hundred children of military families were able to stock up on supplies before going back to school, and it was all thanks to a local organization.

Operation Homefront’s Back to School Brigade aimed to prepare the children for class as they gave away 150 backpacks filled with school supplies at the Williams Army Reserve Center in Northwest Miami-Dade, Saturday morning.

For the students’ parents, the help could not come at a better time. “It costs about $80 to $100 per kid,” said Beatrice St. Flur, who brought her three children.

Fifth-grader Hailey Jean-Pierre expressed her gratitude toward the organization and individuals volunteering resources, supplies and their time to help families just like hers. “It’s letting me know that they care about us, too,” she said.

Hailey’s father, Staff Sgt. Horlrick Jean Pierre, has been in the service for 16 years, and his son hopes to follow in his footsteps. “Yes, I want to be just like my dad, just like my dad when I grow up,” said Derrick Jean-Pierre.

Hailey and her two younger brothers walked away ready for the school year and for some free time. The event also featured raffles, toy giveaways and even arts and crafts.

Operation Homefront’s director of operations said their assistance gives military families the chance to cross a shopping trip off their busy to-do list. “We actually serve what we call our lower ranking military families, E1 thru E6,” said Charlotte Merriam, “and so they have a little less pay than some of the higher ranking [families], so we’re trying to help them keep some money in their pocket for things like rent, food, electricity, things like that.”

Those who took helped make the event a reality said it feels good to be able to give back. “I’m so glad to be part of this, because it means the world to be helping them out,” said Janette Chandler.

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