Back to School Help for Military Families

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

It's a chance to help children who's parents are serving our country oversees. Operation Homefront is a state wide campaign to collect school supplies for kids missing their mom or dad. This year, West Texas is getting on board for the first time. And the woman who started it has a heartbreaking story she's turning into hope.

"It's our part to help them out because they are there for us," Denise Garza, Organizer and Military Mom, said.

Binders, notebooks, rulers and pencils. Dollar Tree shoppers across the state are helping make back to school a little easier for military families.

"We're having a drive and if any of the customers buy school supplies, it goes to children of the troops here locally," Dollar Tree Manager, Richard Bloss, said.

"It might just be a little thing, but it might be an important thing to that family at that time," Garza said. "It might just be that they forgot to buy pencils because they've got their minds somewhere else, well we want to cover their pencils."

Denise Garza volunteered to organize the Odessa Dollar Tree collections. But for her, this isn't any ordinary drive - it's a personal mission. She lost her oldest son fighting in Afghanistan. And just six days ago, her youngest son left home to serve as a helicopter pilot.

"It helps me," Garza said. "I help them and they help me. That's why I wanted to help."

And by helping soldier's children get ready for school, she says it's giving her a chance to serve - like her son oversees.

"I've just had to keep busy," Garza said. "These are my son's brothers, he gave them to me and I promised to take care of them. Now my other son is giving me more brothers and sisters, so this is what I'll do."

Not only are groups organizing the drives in Odessa but Midland and Big Spring stores are jumping on board too. All Dollar Tree stores will be collecting school supplies up until August 2nd.

"To be able to be a part of something like this and know it stays in your community - there's no comparison," Bloss said.