Rucksacks to Backpacks Expands Across Northeast Region

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USO employees and volunteers assisted the children in picking out school supplies.

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Rucksacks to Backpacks event at the USS Constitution Museum.

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A family enjoys activities at a Rucksacks to Backpacks event.

As summer wound down and military children got ready for school, the USO ensured they had the supplies they needed through the Rucksacks to Backpacks program. For more than a decade, Rucksacks to Backpacks has eased the burden for military families when it comes to spending on school essentials.

“My family suffered major water damage to our home in August, just a week before my husband came home from deployment,” stated Sarah Osborne. “With many financial unknowns in our near future, we are all very grateful for the free backpacks and school supplies for our four children. It definitely lightened our stress with back-to-school shopping.”

For the first time in its history, Rucksacks to Backpacks events were held across the Northeast. USO centers in New England, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey worked alongside their partner Freedom Mortgage to deliver more than 1,400 backpacks and countless school supplies.

On the day of the event, children had the opportunity to stuff the backpack of their choice with supplies ranging from notebooks to erasers. But participating in Rucksacks to Backpacks wasn’t just about going home with a backpack full of goodies. Military children and their families were able to bond with members of the community, enjoy some sweet treats and make lasting memories.

“The most exciting part of the evening is that all the military families were provided a private tour on the U.S. Constitution,” said Tonia Costa who participated in the New England event. “This evening will forever be memorable to my family. Thanks to the USO for supporting all soldiers and their families.”

The resounding success of the events was due to the dedicated volunteers and generous partners who came out to support the service members and their families.

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