Submitted by Tacoma Elks #174.
On Wednesday, August 19th, volunteers from Seattle Elks Lodge #92 and Tacoma Elks Lodge #174 handed out over 700 backpacks filled with supplies for K-12 students of Washington State National Guard, Reserve, Retired and Veterans supporting the annual Back Pack Resource Event on Camp Murray WA. This year, the project was opened up to active duty military members as well.
This is the third year that the Elks have supported the Back Pack Resource Event and the event keeps growing. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the process changed to a drive through event where the families drove up and the Elks volunteers handed out backpacks. The smiles of the kids and parents was priceless.
This year, the event is very important according to Deb Discolo, Lead Soldier and Family Readiness Specialist for the Family Programs/JSS at Camp Murray and the Event coordinator.
“With schools going virtual or limiting in person classroom time, the kids need a sense of normalcy”, according to Debbie, the resource coordinator. She also said this year is vital for the families as several have seen their income cut because of the Covid-19 pandemic and provides support for the Washington State Guard and Reserve military personnel.
The back packs and supplies came from several sources. Operation Homefront donated their Dollar Tree Donations for the pens, pencils, paper and other school supplies that filled the back packs. The Elks provided the back packs and additional supplies.
Preparation started four weeks ago where Volunteers picked supplies from Dollar Tree and helped stuff back pack with school supplies, every weekend.
Tuesday morning was the final packing event. Wednesday morning started early setting up for a drive through distribution system. At the end of the day, everyone felt the distribution went very smoothly as they went home tired and happy.