By Shawn Nowlin
In the coming weeks, local students will be starting the 2020-2021 academic school year.
Know a child in need of back-to-school supplies and would like to make a difference?
If so, multiple Walmart stores throughout the Roanoke Valley are currently collecting supplies through Virginia’s Tax-Free Weekend, Aug. 6-8. Until Sunday, interested individuals can make their donations at either the Bonsack, Clearbrook, Valley View or Salem store location.
Items needed the most are glue sticks, backpacks, crayons, notebooks, three-ring binders, colored pencils, college and wide-ruled notebook paper, highlighters, rulers, folders, scissors and construction paper. Tissues, printer paper and dry erase markers are also needed too. During store hours, supplies will be collected at the registers and bins. Once everything is gathered, families may be asked to provide proof of school enrollment before supplies are given out.
“Each year, thousands of children across the Roanoke Valley begin school without the supplies they need to be successful,” said Roanoke County Public Schools Acting Superintendent Dr. Ken Nicely. “Walmart is teaming up with area school systems to work together to provide the tools our children need to be successful. Every single donation will help a student learn and achieve, especially this year when so many families are in need because of the pandemic.”
One of the main reasons why Roanoke County resident Ana Richey supports the Load the Bus for Kids School Supply Drive is because she remembers being the beneficiary of similar circumstances growing up. “I grew up in a single parent household. Just me, my mother and my two younger siblings. While we didn’t have a lot of money, my mother made sure that we had everything else in abundance, including an appreciation for perspective,” she said. “Without people chipping in a few bucks and supporting such events, I would have often started the year without the school supplies that I needed.”
When Chris Smith speaks about the Load the Bus event, he does so with reverence. Smith, a Salem teenager entering his junior year of high school, says his parents taught him the importance of giving back to the less fortunate at an early age. “Both of my parents have great jobs so there’s so many things that I never had to worry about such as food, shelter or school supplies. I understand that not everyone is as lucky. If we all were to do our part, what a difference we could make as a community.”
Without the selfless gestures of so many Roanoke Valley residents, the Load the Bus for Kids School Supply Drive would not be possible. The goal of this year’s event, as always, is to help as many students and families as possible.