This organization is handing out backpacks full of school supplies to eligible families

The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command is giving out free school supplies to eligible families. (Southside Daily/Courtesy of The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command)
The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command is giving out free school supplies to eligible families. (Southside Daily/Courtesy of The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command)

NORFOLK — Eligible families can get their kids ready to start the new school year off on the right foot when they visit The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command’s “The Write Stuff” book bag distribution event Tuesday and Wednesday.

The nonprofit has been handing out free school supplies for the last 20 years and Melissa Medel, a spokeswoman for the Hampton Roads Area Command, said they’ve prepared to give out about 1,800 backpacks full of supplies again this year.

“We’ve collaborated with Walmart for a day-long collection event, and over the last month, businesses in the community have held supply drives, we’ve had donors, and fundraisers to help us get the supplies we need,” she said.

Medel said the organization wants to ensure donations are “going to the children who need it the most” and asked families hoping to receive supplies at the event bring proof of “financial hardship” including:

  • Picture ID for head of household (applicant).
  • Proof of address (lease/mortgage statement or two household bills).
  • Birth certificates (prove age/guardianship) for children grades K – 12.
  • Current proof of TANF or Food Stamps (SNAP) for household (SNAP cards must include your name on the front to be considered).
  • If there is no TANF or SNAP, bring proof of all household income, including but not limited to: employment income, unemployment income, child support, disability, retirement, vet benefits, etc.
  • If reporting no income, bring verification from your employment commission showing you haven’t worked within the last quarter.

Families must reside in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, or Chesapeake — Chesapeake residents in 23321 and 23323 are served out of the Portsmouth Corps office.

Medel said the school supply event is also an opportunity for those same families to sign up in advance for Christmas assistance to receive clothes from their Angel Tree program, food through Operation Blessing, and gifts from Toys for Tots.

“It’s like a one-stop-shop,” she said.

And, they’re still looking for school supply donations until Aug. 28 which Medel said can be dropped off at the command office, 5525 Raby Road, during their operating hours or at the Krock Center. 

“We’re still in need of things like compasses, calculators, and scissors,” she said.

“The Write Stuff” backpack distribution event is Aug. 27 and 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Military Circle Mall.

Organizers advised families consider visiting the distribution site in the afternoon and making sure they have all their required documentation to verify eligibility — wait times vary from 30 minutes to an hour with morning hours being the busiest.

For more information about “The Write Stuff” or to make a monetary donation, click here.

For more information about The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command, click here.

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Lucretia Cunningham is a multimedia journalist at Southside Daily covering hyper-local stories in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Her stories focus on public safety, tourism, and city government. She is a Virginia transplant and military spouse originally from Chicago. Lucretia also served on active duty from 2006 to 2016 and started her journalism career as a broadcaster in the Virginia Air National Guard. When she’s not covering stories on the Southside, she’s covering stories with her Air National Guard unit.