EducationLocal

Thousands of Local Residents Attend Martha’s Table Back-to-School Event

Nearly 5,000 people from across the District attended Martha Table’s “Get Ready 4 School Giveaway” at the Gateway Pavilion on the St. Elizabeths East campus in Ward 8 on July 31.

Volunteers and staffers of Martha’s Table and other organizations such as Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the umbrella company that includes the Washington Wizards and the Washington Mystics, gave away school supplies, everyday clothes and school uniforms, t-shirts and masks.

Vendors, such as the Community of Hope, which offered free coronavirus vaccinations, and the Capital Area Food Bank, gave away fruits and vegetables. Johanna Williams, special adviser to Martha’s Table President and CEO Kim Ford, said her organization intentionally launched its back-to-school event in July.

“We wanted to do this for the families sooner so they could see what they needed before school starts,” Williams said. “In August, they can assess what else they need and can go out and purchase those items.”

The 2021-2022 academic year for District public schools will start on Aug. 23 and will largely be in-person with limited virtual instruction. While many District youngsters didn’t have to purchase clothes for school last year due to virtual learning as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, that won’t be the case for the upcoming year.

Ward 8 resident Erica Kelly came to the giveaway with her three pre-kindergarten children to get free clothes.

“I think this is fantastic,” Kelly said. “I am here to get the items my children will need to go back to school. The pandemic has affected everybody, including my family, and we need all of the help we can get.”

Jant Precious, a Ward 7 resident, came with her daughter to the event and complimented it for its inclusiveness.

“Everyone here is having a good time,” she said. “There are a lot of activities going on and it is good to see the community coming together.”

Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) is set to hold a back-to-school event at the Gateway Pavilion on Aug. 7.

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