Three powerhouse nonprofits have partnered to launch the “Get Ready 4 School Giveaway,” a safe, socially distanced back-to-school event with the goal of providing 5,000 D.C. families with all-new, all-free back-to-school clothing, supplies and health and wellness services. On Saturday, July 31, 2021, from 11:00am – 5:00pm, families can come to the Pavilion at Gateway DC, 2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE, and pick up school supplies, snacks, and clothing for the whole family – and be surrounded by family-friendly fun. This event is being organized by Martha’s Table, Delivering Good and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation.
While there will be on-site registration, families are strongly encouraged to pre-register to avoid extended wait times, and quantities of merchandise may be limited. Registrants will have priority entry to the spacing-controlled, outdoor event, and interested families can sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ready-4-school-tickets-156964949389
This event has been made possible by the generous efforts of partners to Martha’s Table and Delivering Good, and through the financial support of Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation – the charitable arm of the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Martha’s Table has recruited additional financial support from Boeing and EY, product donations from PepsiCo, direct shuttles from Congress Heights and Anacostia Metro to Gateway DC byDC Circulator, and additional support from DC Department of Transportation and Ward 8 Health Council. Delivering Good will be offering families new items from product partners including: American Eagle Outfitters, Bombas, Carter’s, Cool Riders, Design Nest, French Toast, Gerber Childrenswear,Hanes,Highlights,Jockey, Soapbox Soaps, United Legwear & Apparel,and Wacoal. Additional partners are expected to join for this event.
“We are thrilled to be working with our friends at Delivering Good and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation to host ‘Get Ready 4 School,’” said Kim R. Ford, President & CEO of Martha’s Table. “With all the D.C. kids and families who are excited about returning to school this fall, we’re just as excited to host them at Gateway DC and make sure they go home with some great new gear and supplies.”
The COVID-19 pandemic forced students, parents, caregivers, and educators to deal with profound academic disruption and unforeseen hardships. But the Washingtonian community – with decreasing infection caseloads and higher vaccination rates – has begun to emerge from the most devastating effects of the shutdowns and restrictions. To celebrate this and the excitement of the return to in-person learning for students, the three partner nonprofits are creating a day of fun activities. DJs will provide live music, festival characters such as stilt-walkers and jugglers will be onsite, and entertainment from the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics – including the Wizards Dancers and team mascots Slapshot, G-Wiz, and Pax – will greet families.
“Back to school is a busy time for Delivering Good and our network of 800 community partners across the country,” said Lisa Gurwitch, President & CEO of Delivering Good. “We are excited to work with Martha’s Table and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation to support D.C. students and families with new merchandise. These donations from manufacturers and retailers will help children, teens and adults start the school year right.”
“Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation is proud to once again partner with Martha’s Table – a proven gamechanger for so many Washingtonians – and to create this first-time collaboration with Delivering Good, a retail industry uniter offering families a hopeful solution,” said Elizabeth Pace, Executive Director, Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation. “For a year and a half, we were unable to create this kind of extraordinary community experience we love, and we are so thrilled to co-host this incredible event for our neighbors who deserve to be celebrated and sent into the new school year set up for success.”
Martha’s Table has seen firsthand the effects of COVID-19 on many members of the community. In spring 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, Martha’s Table distributed as many as 10,000 bags of no-cost groceries each week, four times its normal distribution level. And in an April 2020 survey of its neighborhood families, Martha’s Table found that 9 in 10 families reported being financially impacted by the outbreak; nearly 60% parents who were employed were not being paid; two-thirds of parents were concerned about their ability to pay utilities the next month; and more than half were concerned about their ability to pay rent the next month.
“We knew this public health crisis was going to hit our families the hardest,” Ford said. “But D.C. families are nothing if not resilient and Martha’s Table is proud to stand alongside them as we return to hosting in-person events,” she added.
Even though Delivering Good also works in disaster recovery, they could not have predicted what 2020 would bring. Many of the charity’s community partner nonprofits saw a sharp increase in demand for their services. At the same time, the partners’ services were hampered during the lockdowns, and they had to develop new ways to distribute donations while maintaining social distancing. While many companies had very useful merchandise to donate, every routine process had to be reimagined to overcome new hurdles that COVID-19 created. Ultimately the challenges were met and Delivering Good was able to achieve record-setting donation totals for 2020 with over 69,000,000 units of new merchandise worth more than $280,000,000.
To learn more about the Get Ready 4 School Giveaway and to register for the event, visit: www.marthastable.org/ready-4-school/
Martha’s Table also needs hundreds of volunteers to make Get Ready 4 School happen. To see the Martha’s Table volunteer calendar and sign up for a shift, visit: https://marthastable.org/volunteer/