August 2016 – The summer days are getting shorter and it’s time again for the Fairfax County Back-to-School drive. Each year, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce enlists member companies to help support this important cause through the Community Engagement Committee.
As part of this year’s drive, employees from member company SOS International (SOSi) donated 86 backpacks to help Reston and Herndon students prepare for a successful school year. Employees also volunteered to help organize school supplies and stuff backpacks before they were distributed to local schools.
Together, SOSi employees working around the globe purchased and donated 43 backpacks throughout the month-long giving drive and the company matched that donation. The campaign’s non-profit partners used Amazon and Walmart online gift lists to make purchasing and delivering donated bags simple for corporate partners and their employees. For SOSi, whose workforce spans the globe from Virginia to Kabul, that played a key role in the campaign’s success.
Members of the company’s finance department helped deliver the backpacks to Cornerstones, a non-profit organization serving children and families in the Reston area; just in time for the school supply stuffing to begin. Chamber committee members also volunteered with Collect for Kids to help organize supplies to be delivered to more than 30,000 students in 93 schools in Fairfax and Loudon Counties.
According to the Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools 51,000 (27%) of students qualified for free or reduced-price meals throughout the district last year. Last year, the Collect for Kids drive helped more than 35,000 students with donations of backpacks, calculators and school supplies. The county-wide program has more than doubled since it began in 2011, the brainchild of a retired local teacher. Community partner Kids R First makes a big impact each year, turning every $10 donated into $30 worth of supplies, with the help of local companies.
Written by: Samantha O’Neil, Community Engagement Committee Member