Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Amber Roseboom
Director of Media Relations
Catholic Diocese of Arlington

MEDIA ADVISORY: Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington’s Migration and Refugee Services Distributes Backpacks to More Than 250 Local Refugee Children for Back-To-School

Items Offered Were Donated by Local Parishes, Girl Scouts, the Local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Rock Spring Congregational Church


ARLINGTON, VA – Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington’s Migration and Refugee Program (MRS) is hosting its annual “Backpack Giveaway” this year as a drive-thru to ensure safe social distancing for families, volunteers and staff. More than 250 students are registered to receive backpacks filled with basic supplies, including pencils, pens, erasers, glue, scissors, crayons, colored pencils, markers, notebooks, composition books, 3-ring binders, loose leaf paper and highlighters. Additionally, in response to COVID-19, masks, sanitizers and gloves are being distributed to each family.

“We are thrilled to offer our annual backpack distribution as a drive-thru this year to ensure families can participate in a safe way. While this is definitely an unusual year as students prepare to enter school in a variety of ways, be it in person, virtually or a combination of the two, the need for basic supplies has increased,” said Belayneh Loppisso, Program Director, MRS, an asylee himself and former client of MRS. “The economic impact the coronavirus has had on the refugee committee, particularly those already experiencing hardship, has been significant, magnifying the need for and impact of this effort.”

MRS Backpack Giveaway

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington Migration and Refugee Services and Backpack Recipient Families. (Families must be pre-registered to receive a backpack.)                 

Friday, September 11, 2020
10 a.m.–3 p.m.

Migration and Refugee Services Office of
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington
80 N. Glebe Rd.
Arlington, VA 22203

The Arlington event is one of three backpack drive-thru distributions at the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year, which include distributions in Fredericksburg and Manassas. Additionally, for families unable to make it to a drive-thru, volunteers are providing no-contact delivery to individual residences.

All items were donated by parishioners and school families from throughout the Diocese, including St. Mary of Sorrows Church in Fairfax, Church of the Nativity in Burke and St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington, as well as Girl Scouts, the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Rock Spring Congregational Church. To receive a backpack distributed during the MRS event, students must be clients of MRS and enrolled in the Virginia Refugee Student Achievement Program for students ages 5-18 who have been in the United States for less than five years.

MRS serves new clients arriving to the U.S. throughout the year, so school supplies are always needed. To donate a backpack or supplies or for additional information, contact Rebecca Boak, Community Engagement Specialist at MRS, at

Interested media, contact Amber Roseboom, Director of Media Relations, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, at 571-215-8731 or


Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington serves the poor and vulnerable who live within the 21 counties and seven cities of the Diocese of Arlington, which is led by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge. Catholic Charities provides food for the hungry, a free medical clinic for adults including prenatal care, adoption services, transformational housing for the homeless, mental health counseling, emergency financial assistance, prison ministry, workforce development, and immigration and refugee services. Catholic Charities serves all, regardless of faith.