Prince George’s Co. group accepting school supply donations for families in need

This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference from our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Read more of that coverage.

When parents can’t provide their children with the supplies they need to get the school year off to a good start, it can be a stressful ordeal for the entire family.

But when they can, Anissa Hewitt, CEO of Eye Rise, a recreational facility in Glenn Dale, Maryland, said, “You can just see the load come off of them as you talk to them during the day.”

Hewitt said she has been organizing book bag giveaways for nearly a decade. This year, Eye Rise is helping parents and children start the school year off right with a free barbecue and back-to-school supply giveaway on Saturday, Aug. 12 at Eye Rise’s Hillmeade Road location.

It’s free and open to the community — not just the Prince George’s County residents, but to the entire D.C. region. Hewitt said boys can also get haircuts and kids can get their hair braided.

“We want to serve as many children and families as we can,” Hewitt said.

Hewitt said giving back is something that was instilled in her as a child. She grew up helping her mother, who served low-income families and homeless people in Southeast D.C. through an evangelical prayer group.

Anissa Hewitt, the CEO of Eye Rise (Courtesy Eye Rise)

She said her mother, the Rev. Joyce Hewitt, taught her to give back to the community.

Anissa Hewitt moved from Southeast D.C. to Maryland in elementary school. Nevertheless, she said throughout her formative years, she watched her mother return to Southeast time and time again and knew that giving back would also be her mission.

“God just placed it on my heart to have a facility where people could feel the love,” Anissa Hewitt said.

Anissa Hewitt always wanted a place where people could feel loved and welcomed, host community events and hold classes for children, as well as provide resources.

That, she said, is how Eye Rise was formed.

If interested in donating clear bookbags and supplies, Eye Rise are also accepting items on Aug. 7 from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 7500 Hillmeade Road in Glenn Dale.

Stephanie Gaines-Bryant

Stephanie Gaines-Bryant is an Anchor and Reporter for WTOP. Over the past 20 years, Stephanie has worked in several markets, including Baltimore, Washington, Houston and Charleston, holding positions ranging from newscaster to morning show co-host.

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