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Joy Ministries gives away free backpacks and school supplies throughout Hampton Roads

Back to school season is underway, and so are dozens of school supplies drives across Hampton Roads.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — With students across the region heading back to school, dozens of school supply drives are popping up in Hampton Roads. One organization gave back to the community on wheels Saturday morning. 

The organizers with Virginia Beach's Joy Ministries packed into a chartered bus with backpacks to give away to families across the area.

Larkeysha Williams is the proud mother of a 5th and 8th grader. And a new school year means it’s time to buy new school supplies. 

“Each year it gets tougher to buy them clothes and school supplies and worry about backpacks as well," Williams said. “Everything is like each year starting over from scratch.”

High inflation means higher prices at the store, so Joy Ministries is stepping in to help.

Joy Ministries' founder, Danette Crawford, joined her team in filling the chartered bus with backpacks and school supplies for children, for free. 

“It’s like Walmart on wheels where they get to go and pick out the backpack that they’ve always wanted," Crawford said. “We’ve learned that when we’re doing thousands of children and multiple hundreds that we need a bus. Our bus is going all over the city of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth and we’re going to North Carolina tomorrow.” 

Crawford said the goal was to give 500 children free school supplies this weekend. She said her team is giving away backpacks in neighborhoods where families may need a little extra help. 

“We’ve done this for 21 years," Crawford said. "I’m a single mom and when I became a single mom overnight I realized that different times of year - back to school, Christmas – it is really hard on single moms that they don’t have the extra money in their monthly budget which is already tight.” 

Crawford said she hopes these backpacks will help communities who may need some extra support before of the first day of class. Williams said it's a big help.

“With everything being so high these days this has just been a blessing to ease some of the burden for us, for our family," Williams said.

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