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Backpack and School Supplies Resource Events gets youth ready for school


Come September, families prepare for the upcoming school year like clockwork. That means backpacks, school supplies, clothes and haircuts -- everything needed for children to start the school year off right.

Earlier this month, the Washington National Guard Joint Services Support team provided back to school supplies and resources, free of charge to get military families ready for the new school year. Events were conducted at the Vancouver Armed Forces Center, Marysville Readiness Center, Kent Armory, Yakima Readiness Center, Bremerton with Operation Homefront and Camp Murray. Free supplies and services were provided to all personnel in military branches, whether they’re active, retired, reserve, guard or veteran.

The focus was on giving away school supplies. But at Camp Murray, the event was a one-stop shop. After families checked in, they received a backpack for each child. They moved through each station
filling the backpacks with supplies of their choosing. Free clothing, haircuts and resource providers had booths available to provide various services. There was even a table for rock painting to entertain the
kids in attendance.

During the school supply events, more than 1,500 families received school supplies and 700 children received backpacks. 65 haircuts were provided for free. New clothing and shoes were made available for free, including 25 formal dresses and 5 suits. And over 150 families requested additional services provided by the Family Assistance Specialists (FAS). None of this could be done without the love and support provided by local business, volunteers and benefit societies.


Special thanks to:

Washington State Elks Association for generously providing $2,500 in backpacks and $400 in food.

We would also like to thank the following people who volunteered their time. Exalted Ruler Ernie Bodoh from Tacoma, Vet Chair Jim Guthrie from Tacoma, Jim, Jess, and Emily from Seattle and the two ladies from Lakewood who wished to remain anonymous.

Sports Cuts Olympia for sending Jaymie and Kat to provide free haircuts to military families.

Niagara Bottling, LLC for sending a pallet of drinking water from its Puyallup location.

USO Mobile Canteen for providing hot dogs and chips.

Combat Veterans Association for its donation to

We would also like to thank George Golden (host), Jennipher Paul (sorting), Sonja Wood (sorting and organizing hours after work), Cameron Buck (sorting), Shannon Tyre & Family (coordinating and assisting Veterans), Mean Davidson and Tracee Godfrey (clean up).