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Chris Long kicks off new initiative at Charlottesville High School

Published: Dec. 4, 2021 at 8:07 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville City Schools hosted its second response to Essential Needs Drive on Saturday morning, working alongside the Chris Long Foundation, The Blue Ridge Health District, the Brooks Family YMCA, and The United Way.

This event was the official kick off of Chris Long’s new program, EdZone.

“We’re trying to give kids the basics, so they can go out there and perform in the classroom,” retired NFL player, Chris Long said.

The basics at this event, as Chris Long puts it, included winter coats. These items were funded by donations to EdZone.

“The things that we take for granted, a lot of our kids are taking for granted,” Long said. “Kids in Charlottesville City Schools have a lot of problems that we don’t even think about, so I hope people will not only consider giving to EdZone, but also educating themselves on some of the disparities.”

The Blue Ridge Health District administered vaccines for children at the event too. The United Way and the Brooks Family YMCA helped distribute hygiene supplies, food boxes, and bags for attendees.

“If we don’t have an engaged population, Charlottesville, that wants help out and wants to solve some of these problems that some of these kids have in Charlottesville City Schools, then we can’t get it off the ground,” Long said.

EdZone has been working closely with Charlottesville City Schools to help change these students’ lives and learning experiences.

“It’s really uplifting because it’s great to do work with different organizations, by ourselves, but there’s so much strength in numbers and I love being able for all of us to come together and kind of make these things happen,” CCS Family Engagement Coordinator, Bianca Johnson.

Due to all of the help from the community, Chris Long is already reaching one of his goals of filling closets in classrooms with basic need items.

“We’ve funded five of six lockers already,” Long said. “Our deadline for that is next August. That’s a great start. That means people care.”

The coats at the drive Saturday were gone within minutes of the event. This type of need is why EdZone and CCS say they have to continue providing items like these.

“One of my biggest priorities is to try to remove barriers for family so that their kids can contribute everything that they can to the classroom,” Johnson said. “So this is one of those avenues that we try to make that happen.”

Chris Long says there will be more ways to help later this month. If you want to donate to EdZone to make more of these events possible, you can go to Home | The Chris Long Foundation or its social media sites.

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