Upcoming vendors mall to keep spending local
Samuel Chase Elementary School to host event
To connect families with community vendors and partners within Prince George’s County, the Samuel Chase Elementary School PTA will host its sixth annual Vendors Mall Sept. 7 in conjunction with back to school night on the school’s property in Temple Hills.
“The vendor’s mall idea is something that I came up with a few years ago to try and connect our parents and families with local vendors and community partners,” Michelle Robinson, corresponding secretary for the school’s PTA, said in a phone interview Monday. “My philosophy is kind of like people spend their money in the area that they live [in]. If I can spend my money with someone I know who’s invested in my school, then all the better.”
Robinson said the vendors mall is set up in the school’s front hallway. Cafeteria tables are lined up outside the main office, where students and families are greeted by vendors as they walk in, she said.
“It’s a first come, first serve situation so whoever comes first, they can set up where they like,” said the Temple Hills mother of four. “Our vendors mall opens up a little bit earlier because we don’t want to take away from the parents getting the information they need. So we will open our doors at 5:30 [p.m.] and vendors can come as early as 4:45 to set up.”
Past vendors that have participated include the Oxon Hill Library, Temple Hills Community Center, Rita’s of Oxon Hill, Marlow Heights Movie Theater, AMF Bowling of Marlow Heights, the Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation’s Xtreme Teens program, Boy Scouts, Temple Hills Skate Palace and the Educational Systems Federal Credit Union, according to Robinson.
“We’ve noticed that over time, the vendors have grown and we’ve kept steady with the ones we’ve had from the beginning,” Robinson said. “It seems like it’s been a good situation.”
Having served on the school’s PTA since 2010, Robinson, who refers to herself as a business community liaison, said she initially got involved because she wanted to help out and make sure her kids had a good experience.
But little did Robinson know that experience would turn into a call for action — a special calling to help other kids whom she loves like her own.
“It’s so funny because now I have two middle school children who are at Thurgood Marshall and they used to always complain like, ‘Mommy, why are you always up here?’ But for me, it’s so rewarding,” Robinson said. “When I walk in the school and the kids are like, ‘Hey, Ms. Michelle!,’ I get very excited about that because I know that I’m making a difference in at least one kid’s life.
“We have so many kids who are on free and reduced lunch and they are dealing with poverty. We have children that are homeless, living with guardians and not with their families — that’s a lot for a kid to have to deal with,” Robinson continued. “So for them to have six to seven hours out of their day where they feel safe and comfortable and know that there are people invested in their success, who really care about them, that means a lot to me.”
Robinson said back to school night, which will begin at 6 p.m., will be an opportunity for parents to meet and greet teachers, interact with other families, learn about their child’s curriculum as well as classroom policies and procedures.
“We have a lot of new faces this year as far as staff and parents,” Robinson said. “We’re just very excited to start the year off.”