|Students pick up free backpacks full of school supplies.|
Thousands of Annandale kids are ready for school, thanks to the many donors and volunteers who took part in the first-ever Annandale Pyramid Back-to-School Resource Fair Aug. 21 at Annandale High School.
Kids and their parents started lining up two hours before the doors opened at 2 p.m. They left the event with free backpacks loaded with school supplies, back-to-school clothes from the B-Thrifty shop and other donors, and lots of information about local schools and community resources.
Hair Cuttery employees set up a mini-salon in one of the schools’s trailers, while other trailers were converted to children’s clothing boutiques. The Annandale Lions Club provided free vision and hearing screening. There was also face painting, a DJ, and live music performed by students in the Annandale High School Orchestra. Food for Others gave parents fresh produce to take home.
The resource fair was “amazingly successful,” said Annandale High School Principal Vincent Randazzo. During the first hour, 1,600 people showed up, and he estimated nearly 5,000 came through by the end of the day.
“It’s important to reach out to the community to build relationships and to build trust,” Randazzo said. The event was targeted to lower-income families.
The backpacks and school supplies were donated by non-profit organizations, community groups, and individuals, said Kathi Sheffel, the homeless liaison for Fairfax County Public Schools.
Nearly 50 organizations and county agencies participated in the resource fair, and many had displays showcasing their services, including Alternative House, the Fairfax County Office for Children, Annandale Boys and Girls Club, Just Neighbors, Korean Community Service Center, Girl Scouts, Boat People SOS, the county office for Women and Sexual Violence Services, and many more.
Many of the schools that feed into Annandale High School also had tables with lots of information to help families start the school year well prepared. Schools in the Annandale pyramid include Annandale Terrace, Braddock, Bren Mar Park, Columbia, Mason Crest, North Springfield, and Weyanoke elementary schools and Holmes and Poe middle schools.
The event was developed by the Annandale Pyramid Community Resources Team. After spending the past year identifying needs in the community, team members decided to focus on providing school supplies.