Reagan Realty and Alberto's Pizza Shop distributed over 400 backpacks for children.
With students going back to school on Aug. 31 — either virtually or in-person — two local businesses decided to team up to ensure children in need had the necessary supplies for learning.
On Saturday, Aug. 8, Reagan Realty in Ormond Beach and Alberto's Pizza Shop in Port Orange held a drive-thru giveaway where they distributed over 400 backpacks containing necessary school supplies including notebooks, pencils, crayons and folders. It was an effort about a month in the making, with the aim to collect 500 backpacks for the community.
Angelina Strickhouser, who owns Alberto's Pizza Shop with her husband, Alberto, said they surpassed that goal, having collected 564 backpacks. The giveaway ended up being bigger than she expected.
“There was a lot of love being spread and a lot of happy faces," Strickhouser said. "It went great.”
Since the Strickhousers opened their restaurant two years ago, they've strived to serve the community by filling different needs, she explained. As her husband says, serving the community is just part of who they are now.
“I’m just inspired by the community," she said. "That is the fuel for what we do.”
Initially, the goal was to collect 50 backpacks for local students, but when they collected that amount in just one night, the Strickhousers aimed for 150 backpacks. Then they received a call from Ormond Beach resident Cydney Reagan, of Reagan Realty, and she suggested they up the goal to 500. She also sponsored the free pizza at the event.
As a kid, Reagan recalled that going back to school always came with the excitement for new school supplies — a new backpack, new notebooks, new folders. Regardless of what going back to school looks like for every family during the COVID-19 pandemic, Reagan said children still need supplies.
“Even if they’re home, it’s nice for them to be able to have a backpack that’s their own, and a designated space for their school stuff and have some sense of normalcy," Reagan said.
Restoring a sense of normalcy is something she feels is "super important," she said. Many families are impacted financially due to the coronavirus, and her heart is with the children who are also feeling the effects.
“It’s stressful for them too," Reagan said.
About 100 backpacks were left over after the giveaway, some of which will be picked up at Reagan's office by families who couldn't make it to the giveaway. Whatever school supplies are left over will be divided for donation to Ormond Beach, Port Orange and South Daytona schools.
Strickhouser thanked the community for the donations that made the giveaway a reality.
“Without the community helping us make this possible, we wouldn’t have been so successful," Strickhouser said. "We may have done maybe the footwork, but it also took a team of servant hearts to have the same vision as we did to help the community.”