Friday, August 26, 2016

Getting 500 kids ready for school with the Washington Redskins

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On Saturday, August 13, Catholic Charities was honored to team up with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation to hold the second annual Back to School Fair at FedExField in Landover, MD. More than 500 kids, all in elementary school, received a free backpack full of school supplies, a haircut, and a wide range of services and giveaways to have them set for the coming school year.

It was a brutally hot Saturday, even by August in Washington, DC standards, so the cool air of the club suites level welcomed in each family from the oppressive heat as volunteers smiled and welcomed them to the Back to School Fair. After entering, kids had the chance to visit a dentist for a cleaning or get a haircut thanks to the stylists of Hair Cuttery. Four Redskins alumni – Ravin Caldwell, Dion Foxx, Darnerien McCants and Tommy McVean – were on hand to help handout backpacks. Catholic Charities gave out calculators and shared information on how families could get medical care, affordable groceries and more. Our friends at Goya Foods donated coconut water and crackers for snacks.

Children’s National Medical System brought their mobile care van out and provided immunizations onsite. Macy’s gave out socks, lunch bags and underwear. There were tutoring programs, a live drum circle and music demonstration, information on libraries in DC and Prince George’s County and much, much more.

Msgr. John Enzler, President and CEO of Catholic Charities, took a full lap around the club level to take in all of the services and watch the happy kids running from booth to booth.

“This is really special. It’s so great to make sure all of these families – most of whom don’t have much – have a way for their kids to be ready to start the school year,” Msgr. Enzler said. “This is a great example of how a community can get involved in helping raise a child together.”

More than 150 volunteers from the local community, including more than 70 members of the Prince George's County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc joined the effort to help make sure the day flowed smoothly for each family.

Around 35 community organizations in total rallied to help provide services and giveaways.  The event more than doubled in size and scope from last year’s event, the first of its kind.