Kids of homeless veterans gifted school supplies through backpack drive

232 San Antonio children will start school with full backpacks

By Bill Barajas - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Hundreds of veterans and their children are now ready for the upcoming school year.

The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs and its homeless veterans program were able to give a total of 232 children school supplies.

Veteran Nicholas Tolbert said it was a huge help and gave him peace of mind that his daughter, Natalie, who is going to be in the first grade, was prepared for the classroom.

"We actually just got off the street," he said. "We were homeless for about two months and we've been off the street for a week now. So any help like this that we can get for our daughter is huge."

The kids who received assistance are in grades pre-kindergarten to high school.

"We went to the website for that school district and just filled the backpacks with everything they had on the list," said Ingrid Bethel-Constable, with the VA's homeless veterans program.

Larry Hopkins, a single father who served in the Army for 12 years, said he wishes more veterans were aware of the services available to them.

"A lot of veterans don't know that they can come here but this place helps out a lot. It helps us get stabilized," Hopkins said.

Tolbert said the program -- and all the donations made through it -- are a reminder that veterans aren't being forgotten.

"Sometimes as a veteran you don't feel like you're still appreciated but this community in San Antonio, whenever you see an outpouring like this -- and it's not just for me as a veteran, it's for my family -- and to see an outpouring like this, you can't really express it in words," Tolbert said.

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