As the 2014-2015 school year draws closer, children of active-duty soldiers at Fort Hood have several options when shopping for school supplies.

David Swenson, Clear Creek Main Exchange store manager, has stocked up his store with the supplies students attending the nine on-post schools will need their first day, including backpacks, clothing, uniforms, highlighters, packs of facial tissue and even socks.

“There’s a good sale going on socks,” Swenson said. “We have a vast selection of back-to-school supplies at the Exchange.”

Sales will continue through the end of July, Swenson said, and then pick up again for tax-free weekend in August. He added that items at the Exchange are typically priced 23 percent less than those at off-post stores.

Backpack giveaway

Operation Phantom Support, a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping military families, is working with local stores for its Aug. 22 school-supply distribution. The organization pulled the Killeen Independent School District supply lists from each grade and purchased the items that appeared on every list, executive assistant Taylor Graff said.

The supplies will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, Graff said, and the event begins tentatively when the store opens at 10 a.m. Membership is not required, but participants do have to be active-duty soldiers or veterans, and children must be present to receive a backpack. Graff said the organization aims to distribute 200 backpacks.

Drives like this one are even more important now when, in the face of educational budget cuts, children are responsible for their own supplies. Increasing cuts to military budgets makes it twice as difficult for military families, Graff said.

“Having little kids go to class without supplies is heartbreaking,” Graff said. “One of our goals is that no military family goes without for everyday essentials.”

Operation Homefront will also provide backpacks to 1,000 Fort Hood children at its “Back to School Brigade” event Aug. 16, but registration for the giveaway has closed. Follow Operation Homefront on Facebook to receive updates on future events.

Conta​ct Erinn Callahan at or 254-501-7464.

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