Alexandria prepares for back-to-school with backpack and supplies giveaways

A backpack giveaway at a licensed Verizon retail store (courtesy TCC and Wireless Zone)

With school just around the corner, there are a few ways students in need can get a free backpack and school supplies.

First up, this Sunday, two Verizon locations will be handing out backpacks filled with pencils and a pencil case, paper, folders, a ruler and glue starting at 1 p.m., while supplies last, according to a press release from wireless technology investment group The Round Room.

The two locations are at 711 King Street and 3518 King Street, a spokesman confirmed.

The giveaway is part of the “School Rocks Backpack Giveaway” by Verizon retailers TCC and Wireless Zone, now in its 11th year, which aims to alleviate the burdensome costs of new school supplies. Citing estimates from the National Retail Federation, the press release says American families with school-aged children spent an average of $864 on school supplies in 2022.

Meanwhile, Alexandria City Public Schools is seeking volunteers and donors for its own backpack and school supplies drive.

ACPS is collecting backpacks filled with supplies to donate to families in need until Aug. 14. The district aims to collect 3,500 backpacks by mid-August, with options to donate in-kind and financially. It requests those who are interested fill out a form explaining what kind of donations they can make.

ACPS is also seeking volunteers to write notes of encouragement for the students receiving the backpacks and join a “backpack stuffing marathon,” the form said.

Caregivers who need a backpack for their child are asked to contact the social worker for their child’s school.

Some Alexandria middle schoolers are also set to get backpacks with grade-appropriate school supplies next week from the United Way of the National Capital Area. Next Wednesday, volunteers will stuff backpacks for seven schools in the D.C. area with large populations of students from low-income backgrounds, including Francis C. Hammond and Walt Whitman middle schools in Alexandria.

The United Way aims to stuff more than 700 backpacks next week, bringing the total numbers of backpacks packed this year across stuffing events to 2,000, a spokeswoman said.

Hallie LeTendre contributed to this report