NEWS | Nov. 15, 2011

Soto Cano servicemembers give 600 backpacks to Honduran children

By Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

A team of volunteers from Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, handed out more than 600 backpacks and 30 hygiene kits Nov. 9, to needy Honduran children at three schools near Tegucigalpa and Valley of Angels, Honduras.

"It is amazing how happy and grateful the children are when receiving these donations," said Ms. Iris Medina, the Civil/Military Operations liaison. "I always find myself smiling when remembering the children faces and reactions when opening their backpacks."

"This time, we included the hygiene kits and they were very excited and happy to receive them," Ms. Medina said.

One of the schools visited included special needs children.

"It is a blessing for our 29 children to receive these gifts," said Mrs. Marina Navas, the special needs school coordinator. "We've been privileged to have many visits from people of Soto Cano and the children are grateful."

Each of the backpacks included basic school supplies like paper, pens and pencils.

"I now have a backpack to carry my books to school," said Roberto Ponce, an 11-year old from Carlos Luis Vargas School.

More than 436 backpacks were handed out at Carlos Luis Vargas. The school, in the rural hills of Tegucigalpa, is one of the most isolated areas visited by volunteers from Soto Cano Air Base.

"Because our school is hard to get to, we don't have very many visitors," said Ponce. "I'm very happy to see people stop by."
Honduran Military Academy cadets also brought along piñatas for each school and chatted with the children.

The backpacks and hygiene kits were donated to Soto Cano AB by the Give a Kid a Backpack Foundation and Clean the World organizations based out of Orlando, Fla.