First Coast YMCA helps military families get ready for back to school

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Well, school starts in less than a month and today The First Coast YMCA decided they were going to help out military families in need of school supplies.

Today over 2,000 military families got to bring their kids to any of the 5 First Coast YMCA locations where they got a backpack full of free school supplies.

“There’s so much love for the military, especially in Jacksonville and you feel it where you go and The YMCA is definitely one of those places,” says Erin Munoz.


It’s a part of Operation Salutes Back-to-School military bash. More than 800 backpacks filled with notebooks, pens, pencils and more just in time for kids to start school.

“I’m most excited about going on the playground,” says Kyle Holby.

Second grader Ember Ortiz, got a new backpack after hers broke which she will use to carry her new art supplies.

“I get to create more things at school, but I usually just use coloring books,” says Ember Ortiz.

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“It means a lot because we will go through some 2 or 3 backpacks in a year and a lot of the time those are expensive,” Danielle Ortiz.

And while the cost of school supplies is top of mind, families I talked with today say these events help as they move for assignments.

“It’s tough being away from family and friends. You know you get moved into a new neighborhood where you don’t know anyone and there’s always a 2-year adjustment so that’s tough,” says Erin Munoz .

The First Coast YMCA says they just wanted to try and make tough times easier for these families.

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Now right after this event, I got a quote from a father in the Air Force who could not be there. He calls events like this that help low-income families and those separated by deployment a blessing.

This back-to-school military bash stretched all the way to families in Duval, Nassau, St. Johns, Baker and Clay county.

First Coast YMCA credits VyStar, Thomas University, Publix and Black Knight Financial for today’s event.

Also Read: Volunteers working to distribute backpacks filled with schools supplies this back-to-school season

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