CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — While junior enlisted personnel are the military's lowest paid, many have children, and have a tough time making ends meet, especially during times like back-to-school season.
Operation Homefront serves active duty military families and veterans alike. It just depends on the program, of which there are several. Each is designed to make life a little easier for families who sacrifice so much.
“Military families, they go beyond the call of duty,” said Brenda Crawley. “This is one more way to say thank you for the service.”
Operation Homefront volunteers were out bright and early one recent Saturday morning, making sure military families had the school supplies they needed as part of the non-profit's "Back to School Brigade."
“We have so many families that are struggling every day in the communities that they live in,” said Crawley, the non-profit’s local captain. “This is a way to help financially.”
Crawley started volunteering with Operation Homefront while her husband was in the U.S. Navy.
“He was active duty and it was just a way to give back,” said Crawley. “After he retired I continued to help, this is my ninth year with Operation Homefront.”
“She's a great example of someone in the local community who can broaden our reach and be there for families,” said Chief Operating Officer Robert Thomas of Crawley.
Thomas, a retired U.S. Air Force Brigadier General, says the San Antonio-based organization doesn't just help active-duty families. Most programs are for veterans within seven years of discharge.
“We want to be there for these families,” said Thomas. “They've been there for our nation in its time of need, we want to be there for them in their time of need.”
Operation Homefront's mission is to "build strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive – not simply struggle to get by – in the communities that they've worked so hard to protect."
Crawley has seen that first-hand through her children.
“When they got a backpack, when they got a toy in December, you saw the smile on their face,” said Crawley. “Someone is thinking about them. It makes me so happy to know I'm just a small part in this adventure.”
Operation Homefront’s next big program is its annual turkey giveaway for Thanksgiving.