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NEWS | Aug. 31, 2016

More than 750 students benefit from JBSA backpack drive

Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

More than 750 schoolchildren received backpacks and school supplies collected during the sixth annual Build-a-Backpack Program drive sponsored by the Joint Base San Antonio School Liaison Office from July 25-Aug. 10.

Donations of 757 backpacks filled with school supplies and 15 boxes of additional supplies benefited 757 children of active-duty members, retirees, reservists and economically disadvantaged students in five area school districts surrounding JBSA locations, said Lori Phipps, JBSA-Lackland School Liaison Office military child education specialist.

The school liaison office distributed backpacks and school supplies to 126 military families with children in kindergarten through 12th grade the week before Aug. 22, the first day of school.

Phipps said the 757 backpacks collected at several JBSA locations were the highest since the Build-a-Backpack Program started in 2010, surpassing the 600 collected last year. She said 15 volunteers helped out in distributing the backpacks and school supplies.

Phipps said she and Angela Green, JBSA-Randolph School Liaison Office military child education specialist, were overwhelmed by the response of JBSA members who participated in the drive and volunteered.

“Green and myself are humbled by the overwhelming generosity that JBSA has shown to our military families in need and children in our local community,” she said.

The primary recipients of the backpacks and school supplies are schoolchildren of active-duty members who are deployed, on extended temporary duty or on a remote tour of duty.

JBSA members, groups, squadrons and units who donated backpacks and school supplies had the option of specifying the age group designation, grades K-5 or 6-12, of the child they wanted to donate the items to and writing an encouraging note to the child that was placed inside the backpack.

The children and their families appreciated the backpacks and school supplies that were donated to them by the JBSA community, Green said.

“It was different expressions from huge smiles to tears of joy,” he said.
JBSA members got fully behind the Build-a-Backpack Program drive, Green said.

“This year the organizations and individuals who donated were generous and enthusiastic with their giving and supporting the event,” she said. “We got so many calls for this drive from folks who wanted to participate and be part of it. It was very successful.”

Since the Build-a-Backpack Program started six years ago, 3,257 schoolchildren have received backpacks and school supplies.