Why a DC-area organization says giving back is even more important this year

charity drive
Pep Rally for Peace in the Streets holds a charity drive. (WTOP/Acacia James)
charity drive
Food, coats, boot and other items were donated during a charity drive. (WTOP/Acacia James)
charity drive
Coats were among the items collected during a local charity drive. (WTOP/Acacia James)
charity drive
Food from Ben’s Chili Bowl during a local charity drive in D.C. (WTOP/Acacia James)
charity drive
charity drive
charity drive
charity drive

A D.C.-area hat, boot, coat blanket and food drive brought much needed supplies to those in need, especially during this year.

Pep Rally for Peace in the Streets, along with Ben’s Chili Bowl and Randall Methodist Church, held their ninth annual drive. The organization was created 15 years ago by founder and CEO Garry Clark Sr. in an effort to educate and empower the youth and adults in D.C. and its neighboring communities.

Clark said giving back this year is more significant due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“If anything has come out of this pandemic, it’s the fact that it’s brought us all together as human beings and respecting and loving and caring for one another. So it’s important that we come together and show that we support one another,” Clark said.

Clark said that he hopes his organization helps people realize that no matter what, “It takes a village.”

“Our signature is focusing on the homeless and the underserved of our city in the DMV,” Clark said, and he said the organization is doing as much as it can.

“We started out with 2,000 pounds of winter coats, and I think we’re down to maybe 100 coats now,” Clark said.

Steven Silver, an entertainer with Pep Rally for Peace in the Streets, said the drive was crucial for the homeless and those in need.

“These are the most vulnerable people; they can’t afford masks. They don’t know where to get masks from. They can’t ride buses; they can’t go in the stores,” Silver said.

With cold weather driving many indoors, “the homeless people are still on the outside,” Silver said.

Mike Tannenbaum, of Virginia, said that despite being fortunate enough to keep his job through the pandemic, he recognizes that everyone’s story is not the same. He stopped by the drive to bring coats and “support the community.”

“Some of us come from different backgrounds obviously—a little bit more privilege or have been through different experiences, but I will tell you this—everybody’s heart is the same and that’s the biggest thing,” Tannenbaum said.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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