RICHMOND, Va. -- The start of the new school year is just around the corner for many students in Central Virginia, but for some families, going back to school may create anxiety over back-to-school spending.
A survey from Morning Consultant released in July suggests that about 19% of respondents feel like they cannot afford school supplies, while about 40% feel like they can, but it will cause budgeting concerns.
Now, several organizations in Central Virginia are working to make sure students have what they need.
The Chesterfield County Airport is leading the charge in collecting items for students in the district, collecting between now and August 12. Last year, the airport collected more than 7,000 school supplies in a matter of three weeks.
Hollie Baron, a spokesperson for the airport, said this year, there are more donation locations in an effort to exceed last year's supply.
"We're actually hoping by the end of this drive to have a county box truck filled with supplies to take to the schools," Baron said.
Pens, pencils, and notepads are just a few things the airport is looking for. Cleaning supplies like wipes and hand sanitizer are also high on the list.
"The big needs right now are for composition books, since the students right now are on the Chromebooks, the need for notebook paper and regular notebooks is minimized," Baron said.
Baron said certain supplies will be delivered to individual schools based on need.
In Hanover County, supplies collected from its supply drive will be given to students directly if their family contacts their school's guidance counselor. Its supply drive is running now through August 15.
Hanover County's Youth Service Council works directly with the county's Community Service Board to set up donation sites and spread the word about student needs.
Bella Maranda, a rising senior in the county, said students understand the importance of having school supplies, despite many of their classes only requiring technology like laptops or tablets.
"You always need them," Maranda said. "I know we're kind of switching over to technology and everything like that, but it's a big adjustment. For the younger kids especially, it's nice to have things right in front of them and be able to hold them and use them."
Maranda said some of the donations will go toward a supply closet that is used year-round.
However, getting enough donations to meet the need is not an easy task.
The National Retail Federation reported last month, that inflation is bumping prices of back-to-school and college supplies up anywhere from 36-41%.
Baron said donations have come from parents who no longer have children in school, with one donor giving upward of $500 to the drive.
Virginia's Tax Free Weekend is August 5-7.
Both Maranda and Baron said they hoped that will not only give relief to families purchasing supplies outright but also to those who may want to spend a little extra to help a student in need.
"I'm a firm believer in, every bit helps," Baron said. "If you can only afford a pack of pencils, we'd love a pack of pencils."
Chesterfield donation drives
New school supplies can be dropped off at several locations including:
- Chesterfield County Airport Terminal – 7511 Airfield Drive
- County Administration Building – 9901 Lori Road
- Community Development Building – 9800 Government Center Parkway
- Eanes-Pittman Public Safety Training Center – 6610 Public Safety Way
- Social Services – Smith Wagner Building – 9501 Lucy Corr Blvd
- Mental Health Support Services – Rogers Building – 6801 Lucy Corr Blvd
- All Chesterfield County Public Libraries
For more information, contact Chesterfield County Airport Administration by calling 804-768-7700.
Hanover donation drives
Items can be dropped off for donation at the following locations:
Ashland Library –201 S. Railroad Avenue
Ashland Community Resources – 12310 Washington Highway
Mechanicsville Library – 7461 Sherwood Crossing Place
Atlee Library – 9161 Atlee Road
Hanover County Administration Building – 7516 County Complex Road
Hanover County Martha Ann Fields Building – 7515 Library Drive
Emergency Communications Building – 7501 Library Drive
Hanover Library –7527 Library Drive
Montpelier Library- 17205 Sycamore Tavern Lane