Families gathered at the Gateway Pavilion in Southeast D.C. for a free back-to-school event. People who attended the event received free clothing, school supplies, healthy food and were able to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The event was put together by Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, in partnership with the nonprofits Martha’s Table and Delivering Goods.
Alexis Thomason, senior director for family engagement at Martha’s Table, said the giveaway was essential this year so that families can spend their income on other basic needs. She also cited the coronavirus pandemic as one of the motivating factors for planning the giveaway.
“It’s been a really hard year for a lot of families, and there’s a lot of anxiety around going back to school,” Thomason said.
She also noted that the event was being held at the end of July so that families could make plans for anything else they may need throughout the month of August.
“Families know what they have and what they still need to get,” Thomason said.
She said holding the event in Ward 8 was nonnegotiable.
“Many of our programs that we offer are also geographically limited to our neighborhood to make sure that we’re infusing as many resources and supports in the people who are right around us,” Thomason said.
In addition to free supplies and clothing, people could get their COVID vaccination and receive other health-related resources like blood pressure screenings.
“One of the things that Martha’s Table has been a big part of is making sure that neighbors and residents in the ward get vaccinated,” Thomason said.