More than 700 new backpacks will be handed out on Saturday afternoon at John Adams Elementary School (5651 Rayburn Avenue).
Alexandria law firm Blaszkow Legal, PLLC, is sponsoring the giveaway, which includes other school items and will be held from noon to 2 p.m.
“The driving force behind this project was a desire to help the local community at a time when many may truly need it,” said Blaszkow Legal CEO Joseph Blaszkow. “Many families are still recovering from the pandemic. We are striving to help take the edge off, so they can get the new school year off to a great start.”
Earlier this year, Blaszkow Legal was presented with Volunteer Alexandria’s Business of the Year award.
There were a number of backpack and supplies giveaways last month, and Shiloh Baptist Church’s upcoming back-to-school giveaway on Saturday has reached capacity. That event includes free boys haircuts, food and school supplies.
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 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
A system upgrade to the city’s Department of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities (RPCA) website could be a windfall for local residents who, today and tomorrow, can access most rec center amenities without charge.
The city is updating its WebTrac service today, leaving RPCA unable to access household information, handle reservations or registrations, or process payments or refunds.
The upshot for local residents is that today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday), all recreation centers in Alexandria will be offering complimentary amenities — because they can’t charge.
“We encourage you to visit your neighborhood recreation center and enjoy fitness rooms, soft play rooms, swimming, drop-in programming, and several other amenities, all free of charge,” the RPCA website said. “RPCA encourages WebTrac users to check their household information beginning September 21 to confirm all information is accurate in advance of using the system for upcoming registrations or reservations.”
During our Webtrac system upgrade, ALL rec centers will offer complimentary amenities on Sept. 19-20. Enjoy FREE access to fitness rooms, soft play rooms, swimming, drop-in programming & more.
For more info, please contact our Registration and Reservation Office at 703.746.5414 pic.twitter.com/AN37pl0rmw
— RPCA, Alexandria VA (@RPCA_AlexVA) September 18, 2022
Image via RPCA/Facebook
There are dozens of volunteering opportunities in Alexandria.
“We need hundreds of people per week,” Volunteer Alexandria Executive Director Marion Brunken told ALXnow. “More people are in need now than ever.”
Here’s Volunteer Alexandria’s list of new and upcoming opportunities.
- Alexandria Dept. of Community and Human Services Volunteer Guardian — “Looking for individuals who can assure the well-being of an incapacitated Alexandrian living in an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Facility. Volunteer Guardians are appointed by the Court to make decisions for older Alexandria residents who have lost the capacity to understand the consequences of their decisions. The volunteer will visit the resident monthly and follow the person’s wishes as much as possible. To express interest, click HERE.”
- ALIVE! — “Volunteers are needed to assist with multiple programs relating to their Food Program, ALIVE! House, and Alexandria Eviction Prevention Partnership Program will distribute food at Mobile Pop-ups and Truck to Trunk events, etc. Click HERE to learn about each opportunity and to register.”
- ALIVE! Thursday Warehouse Volunteer — ALIVE! is looking for volunteers every Thursday. The role will consist of accepting deliveries, crating fruits and vegetables, shelving boxes, and all other tasks that may need to be done. Some tasks require lifting and/or moving possibly heavy items. Commitment to at least one Thursday a month is required. To express interest, click HERE.
- Help Provide Meals to Children — “Alexandria City Public School (ACPS) will provide two days worth of breakfast and lunch meals with a snack pack free for any enrolled ACPS student on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Friday distribution will include a meal(s) for Saturday. Volunteers will meet at various schools to assist with packing boxes and loading buses with boxed meals. Then, volunteers will ride the bus along to distribute the meals while on site at a few ACPS mobile pop-up locations. Click on each location to sign up: Francis C. Hammond Middle School, Alexandria City High School, or Jefferson Houston School.”
- ALX Fit Fair Volunteer — “Join in the ALX Fit Fair, a fun day in the park connecting the community of health and wellness businesses with fitness brands in mini-workouts and tasty samples! The event will begin at 10am and go until 2pm, but volunteers will be needed to set up an hour earlier and break down for up to 3pm. Energetic, health- focused individuals 16+ years of age who have a passion for fitness and the outdoors are needed to assist with registration, traffic control, directing people, and assigning raffle tickets. Click HERE for more information.”
- Casa Chirilagua — “Casa Chirilagua needs volunteers to help tutor/mentor children and adults virtually and in-person during their Kids Club, Teen Club, Mentoring program, Spanish Tutor program, and Adult English Classes. To learn more click HERE.
- Volunteer for the new DASH Network Launch — “DASH is looking for volunteers 18+ to interact and share
information with riders about the New DASH Network during in-person pop-up events! After nearly two years of planning, outreach and community discussion, the New DASH Network is set to launch fare free on September 5th! The New DASH Network introduces more frequent, all-day service on major transit corridors in Old Town, Arlandria, Potomac Yard, Parkfairfax, the West End and the King Street corridor, and serves more low-income and minority residents. This new network will also provide access to 50,000 additional residents and nearly 25,000 additional jobs in Alexandria. Bilingual volunteers with conversational Spanish and Amharic would be a great help. All CDC mask wearing guidelines must be followed while participating in this event. To volunteer or find out more information about the new network, click HERE.”
- Emergency Preparedness Outreach — “Help us recruit more passionate volunteers like you for our upcoming National Preparedness Month in September, our Snowbuddies Program in the winter, and all of our other emergency preparedness training programs! For more information or to sign up, click HERE.”
- FACETS – Front Desk Volunteer at Alexandria Location — “Volunteers are needed to work at the front desk. Tasks include assisting clients, answering phone calls, receiving donations, data entry/filing, and maintaining the front desk and lobby of the office. Register HERE.”
- Teacher positions at Friends of Guest House — “Friends of Guest House – Various Teacher Positions Dedicated volunteers needed to teach various subjects and skills classes to women. The ideal volunteer will be patient and interested in the success of these women as they further their knowledge. Volunteers are also needed to assist with vaccination pods and instruct substance abuse, addiction, and recovery classes. To register and learn more click HERE.”
- National Preparedness Month Volunteers – “Interested in helping us plan, organize and execute events for National Preparedness Month? Join our planning team! No experience necessary just a passion for emergency preparedness. Click HERE to sign up!”
- Repair Coach at Fixit Clinic – Kate Waller Barrett Library — The Barrett Branch Library is seeking volunteers to join in our first Fixit Clinic on Saturday, September 11 between 11am and 3pm. The Fixit Clinic is an opportunity to help your neighbors, teach skills for living all while keeping items out of the landfills and pushing against throwaway culture. We’re looking for skilled professionals and amateur craftspeople who work within the categories of small appliances, furniture, computers, electronics, clothing, jewelry, book and paper, bicycle repair and blade sharpening. Repair coaches not only will attempt to fix the items brought in, but will work with visitors to explain the process or encourage owners to attempt repairs themselves. To express interest, click HERE.
- Create Salvation Army care packages — “We are collecting items for seniors and vulnerable populations. You can help by creating care packages from the security of your own home and safely dropping items at our locations. To express interest, click HERE.”
- Senior Services of Alexandria’s groceries to go – “Shop for and deliver groceries every other week to home-bound seniors who live within the City of Alexandria. You will be paired with a senior, who will provide you with their grocery list. Further instructions will be provided to you once you've filled out the application, which involves a background check. To register click HERE.”
- Senior Services of Alexandria’s Meals on Wheels — “Meals on Wheels provides meals to seniors who are unable to leave their homes to shop, or have difficulty preparing a meal, to have two healthy meals a day delivered to their homes. Click HERE to learn more and to register.”
- Long Term Client Intake Case Workers — “Provide financial and logistical assistance to those in need of a Virginia state ID, needed to access housing, food assistance, jobs and more. While helping clients get IDs we also register them to vote and help others restore their voting rights. To register, click HERE.”
- Space Of Her Own (SOHO) Mentoring for Girls — “SOHO is returning in-person for the 2021-2022 school year with a brand new class of 5th grade girls from under-resourced communities in Alexandria, Virginia, each waiting for a caring adult female mentor like you! Join us for an information session on either August 24 or 25 from 5:30-6:30 pm at The Art League Annex, at 1055 North Fairfax Street. To learn more, click HERE.
City Council will receive the news in its legislative meeting on Tuesday. The Office of Historic Alexandria will be unveiling its 2020-2025 strategic plan to Council, and the museum is being planned to open this spring.
According to a staff presentation, there will be temporary exhibits and the museum will begin a public engagement process over restoration plans and the interpretation of the site.
Alexandria completed the purchase of the former slave trading headquarters at 1315 Duke Street in March, but the pandemic forced museums across the city to close.
The building was the headquarters for five successive slave dealing firms between 1828 and 1861, including Franklin and Armfield, which was one of the largest domestic slave trading firms in the country.
“Freedom House is vital to telling Alexandria’s story,” Mayor Justin Wilson said in March. “What happened at 1315 Duke St. had a terrible and lasting impact on America. Freedom House encourages us to speak truth to power and delve deeper to confront the hard, honest truths about race, class and equity in this country.”
These museums are still closed: