WASHINGTON — As kids in the area prepare to go back to school in the coming weeks, parents and guardians alike scurry to get all the supplies needed for their young ones to succeed in school.
For some families in the D.C. area, however, the many required school supplies for the start of the school year can be a financial burden. Local school districts try to bridge the gap by holding various back-to-school supply drives and fundraisers. Here’s how you can help.
Those wanting to give back to kids in D.C. can choose whether to donate directly to a specific school or through a D.C. Public Schools central office. Schools in the system are most in need of school uniforms, sports equipment, computers and printers, white boards, new books) and art supplies.
Anne Arundel County Schools’ Back to School Program matches willing givers with eligible students, referred by guidance counselors and social workers, who are in need of school supplies. Donors purchase supplies per the list of required school items and then deliver them to the elementary schools the second week of August. Donors can choose how many children they would like to help and which school district they prefer.
Since 2013, Montgomery County Public Schools’ Give Back Packs campaign has been raising money to buy backpacks full of school supplies for students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals. Those wanting to make a tax-deductible donation have the option of many giving levels, providing a backpack to an individual student or providing them for an entire class, grade, school, cluster or district. Donations are accepted all year, but most donations that are received after October are used for the following year’s campaign. Backpacks will be delivered to schools during the week of Aug. 20.
Prince George’s County’s annual Stuff-a-Bus challenges community members to collect 15,000 backpacks and other school supplies for students in the school system. School supplies will then be distributed at the eighth annual back to school block party on Aug. 25.
Backpacks and supplies will be collected in the following areas:
- Saturday, Aug. 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ivy Youth Family Center, 6118 Walton Ave. Suitland
- Sunday, Aug. 5 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Bowie Town Center, 15606 Emerald Way, Bowie
- Tuesday, Aug. 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. at the National Night Out event at Largo Plaza Shopping Center, 10500 Campus Way South, Upper Marlboro
- Saturday, Aug. 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Wegmans 9001 McHugh Drive, Lanham
St. Mary’s County Public Schools is raising money to make sure school children kick off the school year on the right foot. Money collected through the shoe fund provides shoes to kids in the system who have limited financial resources. According to the shoe fund’s sites, requests for shoes are most prominent at the beginning of the school year.
Alexandria City Public Schools will collect backpacks and school supplies in various areas of the city until Aug. 15. The area’s DASH bus is also joining in on the effort to collect school supplies for kids in Alexandria. Passengers who donate new school supplies when they board the bus on Tuesday, Aug. 7 and Thursday, Aug. 9 get one ride for free. Donors can check out the list of needed items through the ACPS website and see a map of donation drop-off locations below.
The Arlington County Police Department is collecting back to school items at its headquarters through Aug. 16. ACPD and members of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office are trying to “Fill the Cruiser” with pens, markers, folders, binders and other school supplies on Aug. 16 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Westover Shopping Center and Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.
Fairfax County Public Schools’ Collect for Kids campaign focuses on making sure students in the area have the supplies they need to start the school year off right. More than 55,000 students in the school system live at or near the poverty level, according to the school system’s website. This year, the organization’s goal is to provide 40,000 kids with school supplies and backpacks. Donors can make monetary donations through an online form or deliver backpacks to the following areas:
- Apple Federal Credit Union branches in Fairfax County
- FCPS Gatehouse Administration Building; 1st floor lobby, 8115 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church
- FCPS Willow Oaks Administration Building; 1st floor welcome desk, 8270 Willow Oaks Drive, Fairfax
- Britepaths drop-off locations
- Western Fairfax Christian Ministries