Operation Back-to-School 2015 Backpack Giveaway
By Tech. Sgt. Kerri Spero, 102nd Intelligence Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 28, 2015
OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- More than 350 school-age children will receive backpacks filled with school supplies this weekend during the annual 102nd Intelligence Wing Back-to-School backpack giveaway.
Driven by the Otis Civilian Advisory Council, approximately 60,000 school supplies were donated by several Cape Cod vendors to the Joint Base Cape Cod military community. Because most items were delivered in boxes, dozens of JBCC community volunteers assembled and filled the backpacks during an event, August 19. Volunteers included retirees, active military personnel, civilians and families.
"It was a terrific to see all the OCAC volunteers when they were stuffing the bags and be able to share our great appreciation for their time," said Erin Creighton, 102nd Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager.
The variety of items donated include rulers to calculators, notebooks, pens, pencils, binders, book covers, glue and numerous other items, including brand new backpacks. The 102 IW received approximately 350 backpacks out of the 2,500 donated to the JBCC community. The remaining backpacks will be distributed to children of Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Camp Edwards, and the 6th Space Warning Squadron.
"This is a good program for all the military kids in the wing," said Creighton, "The families of wing members receive a backpack for every school-age child from K-12. And this year we had a tremendous amount of support from OCAC that we were able to give the school-age children up to 20 items."
"Parents and children love this program. It started out very small and has grown substantially in the last three years," said Don Cox, OCAC president, "Anything we can do to help them out is an enjoyable experience."
When asked about the volunteers, Cox said "I think they're fabulous. Between [the OCAC] membership, the Civil Air Patrol, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and many other people from the base that come out and help every time we hold a community-driven event. It's incredible."
In previous years, the 102nd Airman and Family Readiness Program Office organized the event and participation was limited only to 102 IW members. Because the program has grown to support the entire JBCC community, the OCAC has graciously taken over the logistics and operation of the distribution process. This year, 102 IW first sergeants have collected the pre-filled bags and will distribute to their unit members accordingly during the August Unit Training Assembly.
"I will miss being able to see everyone on the hangar floor this year, but the distribution change will allow more families to receive the backpacks with less impact to the day. As always, the Airman and Family Readiness Office likes feedback. I'm looking forward to hear how the program changes were received," added Creighton.
We hope all of the children are excited to receive their backpacks just in time to go back to school next week.
To receive your child's backpack, please contact your unit's first sergeant.