See more Marathon Backpack Distribution distribution photos on Facebook.
While local Alexandria children got their haircuts and balloon animals from a clown at the Charles Houston Recreation Center, they had their eyes on the table full of backpacks. At the Aug. 28 Marathon Backpack Distribution, local police officers and firefighters helped give away 450 backpacks to Alexandria children at three different recreation centers across the city. At Charles Houston, local barbers from Heads Up and Wayne Cutz offered free haircuts to the local children.
“If a child looks good, then they feel good,” said City Councilman Willie Bailey, who helped organize the event. “Then we give them the tools, with backpacks and school supplies, to go to school so they can succeed and do good.”
Residents of nearby neighborhoods said they were happy to see people coming out to positive events at the community center.
“It feels great to see people giving back to their community,” said Christina Brown.
“It just feel wonderful to see the community so involved,” added Alicia Scott. Scott and Brown live near the Charles Houston Recreation Center.
Antoine Barksdale from the Heads Up barber shop said that events like the backpack giveaway were important to helping to preserve a sense of connection and community in a city he said is rapidly stratifying between the very rich and the very poor.
“I grew up here,” said Barksdale. “A lot of these kids, I hope they get that someone cares, that people care, that the community cares.”