Local nonprofits and small businesses teaming up for school supply giveaway

Plamedie Ifasso
The Daily Ardmoreite

Real Dads Do Reals Things and Strength in Numbers are teaming up to give away free school supplies to children on August 15.The giveaway event will begin at 2 p.m. and end at 5 p.m. and is open to elementary to high school students. 

The nonprofits will be giving out backpacks full of school supplies. There will also be a dental hygienist at the giveaway offering toothpaste, toothbrushes and dental information.  

Marchello Anderson, founder and president of Strength in Numbers, said the nonprofits are working to have a barber at the event to do haircuts. Anderson said the event is about offering kids resources they have not had access to. 

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The event is being sponsored by local small businesses.  Anderson said the idea for the event came from a group of small business owners. 

“It really just came about in the group that we have of small business owners,” Anderson said. “What do we want to do next after we did the Juneteenth soiree, and the school giveaway was the topic of conversation. We all decided to go ahead and do. We felt that it was really important to do as far as giving back to the community.” 

Anderson hosted a back to school supply giveaway in the past, but he said it had always been last minute. Both Jonathan Willis and Anderson said they want the giveaway event to be an annual thing that the community can look forward to. 

“This will just be the start of things,” Anderson said. “We kind of want to make it to where the city shuts down for this and almost like a gala for the community to come and collect resources and get information from doctors, dentists, mental health therapists, and things of that nature.” 

Willis said he hopes the event is beneficial not only to the children but also their parents.

“I remember being a dad and not necessarily having the resources or the funds to be able to take my kids to get backpacks or hygiene products and make sure they were all the way ready for school,” Willis said. “My organization was proud of the idea to team up with Chello to give other dads or a single mom some help.” 

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For Anderson, he wants the event to be a place where the community can come together and show them what can happen when there is unity. 

“There’s so much potential in town and so many possibilities,” Anderson said. “I just want the business owners and the people in the community to understand and just get a glimpse of the vision of what we could do, what we could produce and what we can manifest if everybody would come together.”

Willis said they are still looking for volunteers as well as supplies. Volunteers can reach out to Willis to get involved. 

The organizations are asking for donations of items such as backpacks, school supplies, hygiene products and masks. Donations can be dropped off at Ray of Sunshine Sweets and Treats and Gabby’s Southern Cuisine.