Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Lynn ‘Back To School Bash’ Brings Veterans Together


LYNN/August 16, 2017, Daily Item, By Bella Digrazia — Local students piled in with smiles on their faces as they scoured the stock of school supplies, looking for their favorite items. For 10-year-old Maddoc Pilat that happens to be colored pens and markers.

“Now I’m excited for the new school year as a fifth grader,” he said. 

Maddoc was one of nearly 100 kids and parents at the second annual “Back To School Bash.” In addition to free school supplies for veteran families, attendees enjoyed an ice cream social and pizza party. 

The event was put together by the Military Friends Foundation, a non-profit organization serving Massachusetts National Guard and Reserve and Families of the Fallen for over a decade. The Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development also sponsored the event.

Military Friends Foundation executive director Sarah Sweeney said the initiative is her way of giving a “tangible thank you to those who have served.” Sweeney, the wife of an Afghanistan war veteran from Lynn, moved back to the city after her husband’s last deployment.

The foundation received funds and donations to obtain school supplies from Target, Staples, and local dollar stores. It’s hosted events all over Massachusetts but the “Back to School Bash” was created specifically for the growing sense of community in Lynn. 

The fundraiser had volunteers from all over the commonwealth and included a surprise appearance from Boston Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster. 

Ellen Sullivan from the American Red Cross has been volunteering with various veteran and military organizations for over 12 years and has lost three family members to the military. After volunteering more than 50 hours in Westfield this weekend for a similar drive, Sullivan was tired but determined to be at today’s event. 

“We have an obligation as humans to help each other,” she said.

Christine Tron, the state surgeon for Veterans of Foreign Wars, volunteered because she believes it gives students a better start. 

“When kids start off the school year prepared and excited, they do well,” she said.

Another volunteer, Danielle Morgan, who has been cutting hair for 20 years, offered free haircuts at the event. The cause hits close to home since her father and brother both served in the military, she said.

Veteran Stephen Basden attended the event with his grandson. Basden was excited for the opportunity it provided for the members of his family.

“These items are affordable for our families and it gives children like my grandson a head start,” he said.



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