2018-08-03 / Front Page

Operation Homefront brings relief to hundreds of students’ parents

Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office


Participants in Operation Homefront’s giveaway of school supplies July 26 consider their possibilities. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Participants in Operation Homefront’s giveaway of school supplies July 26 consider their possibilities. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Stephanie Yoho of Grovetown normally spends more than $500 on school supplies over the course of a year. Thanks to Operation Homefront, this year’s total will be a little lower.

Yoho was among dozens of Fort Gordon families who received free school supplies through Operation Homefront’s annual Back to School Brigade giveaway. The event was hosted by Fort Gordon Child and Youth Services on July 26 at the CYS Central Registration building on 44th Street.

More than 400 book bags and hundreds of school supplies were handed out along with coupons for local retailers, Augusta GreenJackets baseball tickets, and other giveaways. Book bags were prefilled and sorted by age group, but parents and children had freedom to choose.


Operation Homefront’s stacks of donated school supplies get attention July 26 from Julie Lara and her kids: Hayli, 7; Wyatt, 5; and Colbie, 3. Hayli and Wyatt are preparing for second grade and kindergarten, respectively, at Freedom Park School. The father of the house is Staff Sgt. Jaime Lara, Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Operation Homefront’s stacks of donated school supplies get attention July 26 from Julie Lara and her kids: Hayli, 7; Wyatt, 5; and Colbie, 3. Hayli and Wyatt are preparing for second grade and kindergarten, respectively, at Freedom Park School. The father of the house is Staff Sgt. Jaime Lara, Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office “We just kind of guide them, but all of it is different, so we let them pick what they want,” said LaShonda Phillips, CYS Outreach director.

Yoho, whose five children range in age from 6 to 16, was impressed and humbled by the experience.

“The kids got to go in there and pick what they wanted,” Yoho said. “It was just nice; kind of like Christmas. We’re very thankful.”

Operation Homefront is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission to “build strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive – not simply struggle to get by – in communities they have worked so hard to protect,” according to its website.


Participants in Operation Homefront’s giveaway of school supplies July 26 ponder their possibilities among dozens of backpacks loaded with age-appropriate classroom items. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Participants in Operation Homefront’s giveaway of school supplies July 26 ponder their possibilities among dozens of backpacks loaded with age-appropriate classroom items. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office The organization carries out its mission through the generosity and coordination of people and businesses around the world.

Elizabeth Scott, Operation Homefront area manager for Region 5 East, said the program is one tangible way for the outside community to give back to the military community.

“The added expense of getting the book bags, getting the school supplies ... can really have a burden on families, and we want to help relieve that,” Scott said. “It shows that the community cares and supports our military, and they are willing to help out where they can.”

It is a gesture that Kayla Hand of Fort Gordon appreciates. Hand is preparing to send her two daughters to 1st grade this year. Operation Homefront not only helped save her money, but also time. A self-proclaimed “bargain hunter,” Hand shops around the best deals on school supplies.

“It usually takes me a while to get their supplies for the school year, so this will be very helpful,” Hand said. “I think this is amazing.”

The Back to School Brigade is just one of several campaigns put on by Operation Homefront. The organization also helps military families through holiday toy drives, by providing critical financial assistance, holiday meals, and more. Scott said she needs volunteers year-round to help in a variety of ways.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact her at (770) 727-0017 or elizabeth. scott@operationhomefront.org.

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