Back to School Already?

Not too early to fill backpacks for those in need.

It seems like school has just ended for the summer but local groups are already beginning their school backpack drives for the upcoming school year.

OAR Project Backpack

Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR) has launched its Project Backpack to provide new backpacks and school supplies for children who have a parent incarcerated locally. Last year they provided backpacks and school supplies to over 170 children with a parent incarcerated in the Arlington Detention Center. This year OAR has expanded the program to include the children with parents in the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria. This year they anticipate needing over 400 backpacks.

From now until mid-August you can drop off supplies at community donation box locations including the Arlington Central Library and other library branches, Arlington County Sheriff's Office, Woman's Club of Arlington and Walter Reed Community Center. A full list of drop sites is on the OAR website at oaronline.org. Contact Stephannie Ku at sku@oaronline.org if your business, faith-based organization or community center would like to host an additional drop box.

In addition, supplies may be dropped off directly at the OAR office at 1400 N. Uhle St., Suite 704, Arlington, or financial donations may be made online at the OAR website to help with the cost of mailing the supplies to children who live outside the local delivery area or buying extra supplies if necessary. In addition, the website lists ideas for backpack items including a variety of backpacks as well as suggestions for books for the children under the age of five and includes a list of suggested supplies from Amazon ranging from packages of erasers to pocket folders, subject notebooks and glue sticks.

OAR volunteers will be needed to pick up the supplies at the drop off locations and to assist with administrative duties such as calling guardians of the children to confirm delivery information. If you are interested in participating, contact Heather Pritchett at hpritchett@oaronline.org. OAR serves formerly incarcerated clients and their families by providing reentry assistance and community service alternatives.

APAH Housing Backpack Donation Program

Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) has also announced its backpack drive for Arlington Public School students who live in an APAH rental community home and may not be able to afford school supplies.

Their goal is to be sure that every APAH student has the necessary supplies to begin the 2019-2020 school year. Last year they collected 400 backpacks.

How does it work?

First choose a grade level from K-12 and fill a backpack (or more) with pink erasers, glue sticks, erasable markers, crayons, pencils, rulers and more. You can find the complete list of supplies by grade level online at apah.org. Suggested backpack size is 14 inches for ages 4-7 and 16 inches for ages 8-12 with 19 inches for 13 years and over and large multi-compartment backpacks for high school students.

Notify the volunteer program manager, Julie Booth, to let her know what will be provided. Contact Booth at jbooth@apah.org or 571-800-6462.

Drop off filled backpack at a designated APAH location during the week of July 22.

Finally, spread the word to neighbors and friends, employers and faith communities.

APAH's mission is to develop, preserve and own quality, affordable places to live and to provide resources which promote stability for the families who live there.

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