Summer is quickly coming to an end and soon kids will head back to school.
The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, in partnership with Catholic Charities, hosted its third annual Back to School Fair on Aug. 12 at FedExField, providing 500 local youth with the opportunity to receive everything they needed to start the school year off right.
Approximately 40 organizations participated in this year’s Back to School Fair, offering a variety of items, informational handouts, activities and services, such as dental screenings and haircuts. Participating organizations included Barnes & Noble, Capital Area Food Bank, Hair Cuttery, MGM, TeamSmile, Visa, Inc. and many more.
"We are proud to be able to bring together companies and organizations to create an event that helps children and families have a more successful start to the school year,” said Jane Rodgers, Executive Director of the Redskins Charitable Foundation. “People are challenged to get everything done before the school year starts and some people just don’t have the money to be able to pay for everything. We want to be of service in our community and help children have all they need to be successful.”
Redskins alumni Ravin Caldwell, Ken Jenkins and Eddie Mason provided a few helping hands during the event by distributing brand new backpacks and school supplies to students.
“The school supply kit had everything [Ethan] will need,” said Kim Banks, mother of Ethan Banks who attends Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys in Washington, DC. “And the backpack table sealed the deal!”
Other Redskins special guests included Redskins Cheerleader Ambassadors Amber, Johanna, Mercii and Kara, as well as several wives of Redskins players and coaches who assisted with the WOW Wives Clothing Corner – a storefront where students received a brand new polo and t-shirt for the upcoming school year.
Around the corner, Real Food for Kids provided information on healthier alternatives to sugary beverages and substitutes to vending machine options. Participants also received a cup where they were able to make their own healthy trail mix. Mary Porter, Director of Programs for Real Food for Kids, commented on the importance of being able to impact children at such an early age.
“[The Back to School Fair] is a chance to engage with kids,” Porter said. “Kids are going to be the future advocates for everything positive in our country, so if we can influence their choices into adulthood, they will become advocates for their kids and their communities.”
Porter added: “There is a lot of enthusiasm that gets built up about going back to school. I think all of the storefronts contributed to the confidence of those kids and allowed them to feel prepared about going back to school. Anything that can be done to restore health, to maintain health, to give a feeling of confidence and to boost a child walking back in on that first day [of school] will allow them to be more interested in learning.”