More than 700 children attended the eighth annual Free Backpack and Supply Giveaway event held at Chick-fil-A of Capital Heights on Aug. 23.
The first 200 children received vouchers for a free haircut and hair styling from the Hair Academy II. Enlisting the donated time and support of Chick-fil-A of Capital Heights and Andy Bederman, attorney of Greenberg and Berderman LLC, by William Dunn, founder of The Dunn Foundation, the event drew coverage from NBC 4’s Molette Green.
“Coming from humble beginnings, I know how important it is to be ready for school. I was a single parent for 18 years, so I try to help parents get ready for school. This is that time of year when parents are out here working two to three jobs, so any little edge that can help the parents for their child’s first day of school is a great feeling,” said Dunn who started the nonprofit in 2004. “Just giving free backpacks and dental screenings is extremely important. But these are just two line-items they can check off their list.” Dunn’s philanthropic efforts have resulted in more than 3,000 backpacks with school supplies donated over the past eight years.
“I met Mr. Dunn about five or six years ago when he was a former client of mine. After his case was over, he made me aware of the various community events he sponsors in P.G. County and he ask me if I would support him,” said Bederman, owner and managing attorney at Greenberg and Bederman. “I helped him with a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway last year. I love helping. I’m a native Washingtonian; I opened my law firm here and have been practicing law in the county for more 41 years. This is my community and it has been there for me and I can in turn be there for them. This is a great opportunity for me to give back.”
Trevelle Harvey, owner and operator of Chick-fil-A of Capital Heights, supported the event by providing space inside and outside of his establishment.
“The relationship I’ve had with Mr. Dunn for the past five years has been most rewarding from a community standpoint, because he really cares about the community,” Harvey said. “This is good opportunity to team up with someone that’s not looking for the publicity and more about taking care of the community. I think that giving back is a little bigger than making money. As an owner, I think we’re successful because of the community. I think Mr. Dunn is a reputable guy who does a great job with vetting the people he connects with who have that one purpose: and that’s to give back.”
“What’s impactful about this is we’re holding it in a black community on the premises of a black-owned business.... This franchise is also giving every kid a free food voucher in their backpack. Having an African American owner who is committed to giving back is huge. But we’re not done yet. It’s not about your start, it’s about your finish.”
John Barnes, a native of The District and a Vietnam War veteran who served in the Army, brought his daughter to get some of the free giveaways.
“This is great, especially the kids that don’t have it,” Barnes said. “I know William Dunn from when he worked as the Marlow Heights Community Center director. He’s a real nice guy. He gives Veterans Day events over there at the center, like lunch and other things. But anytime you can help the kids out it’s a worthwhile event.”
During the event youngsters were provided with free face painting, oral dental screenings, book bags and school supplies.
Among the donating participants were Colgate-Palmolive’s Mobile Colgate Dental Truck, the Prince George’s County Police Department, Prince George County Creative Services, Street Wize Foundation, Hair Academy II, Markia’s Rose, Rita’s and Each One and Feed One Inc.