School supply giveaway at Christ House took place in Alexandria (Courtesy Photo)

One-hundred thirteen children will begin the school year with a free personalized backpack loaded with school supplies. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington held its school supplies giveaway for children ages five to 17, this morning at Christ House in Alexandria. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington helped distribute the backpacks.
The backpacks are meticulously prepared by volunteers to ensure that each child has the school supplies they need. For example, a child attending 12th grade received a 3-ring binder, three spiral notebooks –wide- and college-ruled, a protractor, ballpoint pens, subject dividers, etc. A child going to the 1st grade received Crayola crayons, glue sticks, pencil pouch, scissors, notebooks, washable Crayola, markers, pencils, colored pencils, etc.
“I have been working for a very long time with low-income clients, and I know that their income is just enough to survive. Having this extra expense every year can send people into a financial crisis,” says Ruth Guillen, Emergency Assistance Case Coordinator for CCDA. Guillen came up with the idea two years ago. In anticipation of the school supplies giveaway this year, Guillen created a flyer (see attached) requesting school supplies, and handed it out to donors at the CCDA Christ House who donated food or clothing for the poor.
In addition to receiving the backpacks, the children received a Payless gift card to purchase new shoes for their first day of school, and a water bottle filled with snacks. Children also got their picture taken with their new backpacks at the event. 
“We really care about these families who come to Christ House. This event akes a real difference for them. And it brings children and parents – and us - a lot of joy,” said Art Bennett, CEO and President of CCDA. “We want to help parents help their kids feel excited about school and ready to go right out of the gate. That happens here.”