By Micha Green
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, most students in the D.C. area were disrupted from the traditional classroom setting and forced into virtual learning. However, with infection rates lowering, District schools are prepping for in-person learning, and three local non-profit organizations are teaming up to celebrate and support 5,000 families as they return to the classroom.
Martha’s Table, Delivering Good and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation – the charitable arm of the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics – are hosting the “Get Ready 4 School Giveaway” on July 31 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pavilion at Gateway D.C., 2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Southeast, D.C.
There, families will be able to receive school supplies, clothes and snacks, while also celebrating the return to in-person learning with a day of fun, including: DJs, stilt-walkers, jugglers and entertainment from the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics, such as the Wizards Dancers. Team mascots Slapshot, G-Wiz and Pax will also be onsite to greet families throughout the day.
“We are thrilled to be working with our friends at Delivering Good and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation to host Get Ready 4 School,” said President & CEO of Martha’s Table Kim Ford. “With all the D.C. kids and families who are excited about returning to school this fall, we’re just as excited to host them at Gateway DC and make sure they go home with some great new gear and supplies.”
According to a press release from Martha’s Table, the organization has seen firsthand the trials families in the District have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In surveying families in April 2020, Martha’s Table found that nine in 10 families reported being financially affected by the pandemic; nearly 60 percent of parents who were employed were not being paid; two-thirds of families were concerned about their ability to pay utilities and more than half were worried about their ability to pay rent. From the beginning of the pandemic, Martha’s Table began serving four times more than their normal distribution level- distributing 10,000 bags of no-cost groceries each week.
“We knew this public health crisis was going to hit our families the hardest,” explained Ford. “But D.C. families are nothing if not resilient, and Martha’s Table is proud to stand alongside them as we return to hosting in-person events.”
“Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation is proud to once again partner with Martha’s Table – a proven gamechanger for so many Washingtonians – and to create this first-time collaboration with Delivering Good, a retail industry uniter offering families a hopeful solution,” said Elizabeth Pace, executive director of Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, which is providing the financial partnership for the event. “For a year and a half, we were unable to create this kind of extraordinary community experience we love, and we are so thrilled to co-host this incredible event for our neighbors who deserve to be celebrated and sent into the new school year set up for success.”
Delivering Good President and CEO Lisa Gurwitch said that the non-profit is thrilled to team up with the two other organizations as back-to-school is always a busy and exciting time for the company and its nationwide network of 800 community partners. “We are excited to work with Martha’s Table and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation to support D.C. students and families with new merchandise,” Gurwitch said.
Martha’s Table also recruited additional financial partners Boeing and EY, and product donations from PepsiCo to serve families.
Delivering Good sourced merchandise from American Eagle Outfitters, Bombas, Carter’s, Cool Riders, Design Nest, French Toast, Gerber Childrenswear, Hanes, Highlights, Jockey, Soapbox Soaps, United Legwear & Apparel and Wacoal. “These donations from manufacturers and retailers will help children, teens and adults start the school year right,” Gurwitch said.
With the help of the DC Department of Transportation, families will be able to take direct shuttles from Congress Heights and Anacostia Metro to the Pavillion at Gateway DC by DC Circulator and additional support will be provided by the Ward 8 Health Council.
While there will be on-site registration, organizers encourage families to register early for the “Get Ready 4 School Giveaway,” at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ready-4-school-tickets-156964949389/.
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