Military kids get school supplies

A volunteer loads up backpacks last year at the Lexington Avenue Armory.

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Afghanistan war veteran Larry Rivera has four children under the age of eight and three of them brought home multipage lists of school supplies last year.

Thanks to Operation Homefront, a group that helps military families, Rivera’s children got the pencils, erasers and crayons they needed.

“It helps out a lot,” said Rivera, 29, an East New York native and Army specialist who is based at Fort Hamilton in Bay Ridge.

Through its Back-to-School Brigade program, the group collects school supplies at local Dollar Tree and Deal$ stores, and gives them out to New York City children in military families.

“It’s just something that mom or dad don’t have to worry about when they’ve got a loved one overseas,” said Tracy Handschuh at Operation Homefront of New York and New Jersey.

Priority goes to children of disabled or deployed military families, she said. Last year, 50 backpacks were packed at the Lexington Avenue Armory, as well as 200 that were given out to military children at Fort Hamilton.

If readers want to help, they can drop off school supplies until July 25 at any Dollar Tree or Deal$ store in the New York City area, or donate online at


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