Everything You Need To Know About The USO’s Back-To-School Programs

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Each year the United Service Organizations (USO) partners with Freedom Mortgage’s philanthropic Team Freedom Cares in order to collect and distribute backpacks and school supplies to military families in several states. Last year, they were able to collect more than 1,500 backpacks for children of service members. This year, they are hoping to meet or beat that number!

The amazing program for military families is called Rucksacks to Backpacks and operates in eight states across the country. Some of the states have already wrapped up their collection process, but there are several states that still have drop-off locations accepting donations through this Friday (listed below).

“Most people don’t join the military to become wealthy, so they tend to deal with some financial restraints, especially when you consider how often our service members move from place to place” said Kate McCloud, Director of Advancement at Liberty USO in Pennsylvania. School supplies can add up quickly, especially when a family is working on a budget, so all the help military families can get is greatly appreciated.


Photo: U.S. Air Force/Airman Naomi M. Griego -- School supplies collected at the 505th Command and Control Wing.

Photo: U.S. Air Force/Airman Naomi M. Griego — School supplies collected at the 505th Command and Control Wing.

School supplies being accepted for the Rucksacks to Backpacks program include backpacks, as well as school supplies like notebooks, pencils, pens, erasers and more. All of the donations are then assembled by the USO and given out to military families. Monetary donations are also gladly accepted to help fund the Rucksacks to Backpacks program and can be given in place of school supplies or in locations where collections have already concluded.

However, the Rucksacks to Backpacks program isn’t the only back-to-school program for military families going on at the moment. The USO is also holding its annual Operation Back to School event at Fort Myer in Virginia and Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. At Operation Back to School, which takes place at both locations on August 16 from 4-7 p.m., military children ages 5-12 can participate in fun, educational activities and receive a bag full of school supplies.

Operation Back to School is open to all Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve military families of all ranks and all branches of service. Military families who want to take advantage of Operation Back to School at Fort Myer or Joint Base Andrews can do so by clicking here.

Military families can contact their local base to find out if there are more back-to-school programs taking place in their area!


Photo: Air National Guard/Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert -- Military families browse through school supply items with new backpacks.

Photo: Air National Guard/Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert — Military families browse through school supply items with new backpacks.

Below is a list of the drop-off/mailing locations for Rucksacks to Backpacks. Donations of backpacks and school supplies are being accepted through Friday, August 11 at these locations. For locations that have completed their collection for the year, monetary donations can still be made to the USO to support the program.

New Jersey:

Drop off location: Mount Laurel Library
100 Walt Whitman Ave, Mt Laurel, NJ 08054

Drop off location: Mount Laurel YMCA
59 Centerton Rd, Mt Laurel, NJ 08054
Freedom Mortgage Drop Off/Mailing Address
907 Pleasant Valley Ave #3, Mt Laurel, NJ 08054

Maryland:

Attn: Derrick Krout
Freedom Mortgage
7120 Samuel Morse Drive #130
Columbia, MD 21046

New York:

Attn: Teresa Evans
Freedom Mortgage
175 Pinelawn Rd
Melville, NY 11747

Pennsylvania:

Attn: Rafael Trinidad
Freedom Mortgage
502 Virginia Drive
Fort Washington, PA

California:

Attn: Ryan Perussi
Freedom Mortgage
2878 Camino Del Rio S, Ste 412
San Diego, CA 92108

Attn: Guyray Chavez
Freedom Mortgage
620 W. Covina Blvd.
San Dimas, CA 91773

Arizona: Complete

Florida: Complete

Indiana: Complete

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Jacob H. is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who currently resides is West Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys writing, photography, mountain climbing, and camping.