Soldiers, Family members and Family readiness group personnel gathered to conduct the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade annual school supply distribution Aug. 14.

The annual school supply drive is coordinated through Operation Homefront and Dollar Tree stores. This is the third year that the brigade has participated in Operation Homefront.

The overall objective of the program is to assist military Families with school supplies for their children for the upcoming school year.

“Our goal at 108th ADA Brigade is to help those Soldiers and their Families who need it the most and then help as many others as we can,” said Melissa Baxter, 108th ADA Bde. Family readiness support assistant.

Samantha Hash, spouse of Sgt. Timothy Hash, 1st Battalion 7th ADA Headquarter Battery supply sergeant was there.

“I am new to the unit but this is the first time my husband and I have been to a unit event such as this. The school supply distribution is an amazing program and we appreciate all the help we can get. I am a supporter of the Dollar Tree Operation Homefront that focuses on aiding the military,” said Hash.

Baxter played a vital role in ensuring that the Soldiers and Families of 108th ADA had a variety of schools supplies to choose from.

Baxter explained the process for compiling the school supplies. “The Dollar Tree stores ask their patrons if they would like to purchase any school supplies and donate them to Operation Homefront.  I drove to Statesville, Mocksville, Greensboro, and Clinton, North Carolina to pick up the donations which took a day to set up prior to the event.”

Fifteen Soldiers, Family members and FRG personnel gathered to sit up a massive display of school supplies throughout the classroom of 1st Bn. 7th ADA. Bn. Distribution of the school supplies was left up to the units.

This year the units’ first sergeant supplied the names of Soldiers who needed some assistance along with the cost of school supplies. Those individuals were given the first opportunity to “shop” for supplies. They were required to bring their school supply list. Following lunch, the 1st Bn. 7th ADA classroom was opened to anyone within the brigade to get supplies for their children or themselves if they attend college.

Capt. Teressa Bunton, 108th ADA Bde. adjutant eplained about the how the program helped her and the Soldiers.

“My daughter is 9-years-old. She will be starting the fourth grade. This is the first time in my 13 years of being a Soldier that I’ve been in a unit where the FRG provided school supplies to their Soldiers and Families. This program was a tremendous help for me because sometimes it’s hard for dual military parents to find the time in their busy work schedule to go school shopping for their children.  Not only did the school supplies distribution program save time from standing in long shopping lines; it also saved us a lot of money.  I really thought it was great that they had everything on my daughter’s supply list. This is an awesome program.”

Eighty-nine Soldiers and Family members throughout the Spartan Brigade come to the school supply distribution event. That number will increase as the FRG’s work with the Soldiers and the Families who were on the list, but were unable to attend the event.