Still time to help students in need get ready for school year

- Posted on Aug 14, 2019 - 01:44 PM

Applications for back-to-school backpacks is being accepted by the Salvation Army, Hayes, through Aug. 22. For more information, call the local office at 804-642-3960.

The backpack drive is one of many taking place across Gloucester and Mathews to equip students for the new school year. Here are some others still underway; a few have concluded:

Fitness center

In a first this year, the Riverside Wellness and Fitness Center in Gloucester has placed a box for its members and the public to deposit supplies suitable for elementary students. Heidi Bristow at the center said the collection will continue through Aug. 23.

Apple Tree

Bill Hudgins GMC in Gloucester is collecting monetary contributions by check, payable to the Gloucester County Department of Social Services, to purchase needed items for local foster children. Also, individuals, businesses and organizations can pick up a paper apple at the dealership pledging to purchase a specific item listed, or to donate a gift card. Items collected through Apple Tree are given to foster children in Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, King and Queen and King William counties, she said. Undistributed items are provided to other families and to schools.

Some of the apples for this program can be picked up in Mathews at the dentistry office of Dr. C. Ben Lennon near the high school.

Chesapeake Bank

All offices of Chesapeake Bank have boxes for school supplies and donation jars for cash contributions, to be used to help children get equipped for the new year. Chesapeake has local offices at Gloucester, Hayes and Mathews.

Clothes 4 Kids

New and gently used clothing that children can wear back to school is being collected through Aug. 20 at Brent and Becky’s, Teagle Insurance Agency, Short Lane Ice Cream, Gloucester Pawn, Commonwealth Insurance Center, Sonabank/Hayes, and The Wright Barber Shop & Salon. The items collected will be distributed Aug. 25 at the Gloucester Moose Lodge beginning at noon. It will be first-come, first-served and those in need of items must show a proof of residency, as the distribution is for Gloucester residents only. For more information, call 757-291-5469 or 804-699-1287.

Fresh Start

Hands Across Mathews and the Mathews Family YMCA each year collect donations and then take 25 young schoolchildren shopping for back-to-school clothing for a Fresh Start to the new year. Stephanie Decker at the Y said employees of Chesapeake Bank donate their time volunteering to go along as adult shoppers, and the Mathews Rotary Club makes a day of it by serving a picnic.

Mathews Social Services

Donations are coming in from churches and residents to help Mathews youth prepare for going back to school, said Lauren Oden at Mathews Social Services. Distribution is open to any young person living in the county, not just those receiving benefits. The program has been underway for more than 20 years. Make checks payable to Mathews Social Services and mail to P.O. Box 925, Mathews, Va. 23109.

No Walls Community Day

Donations to stuff new backpacks with school supplies are being taken for No Walls Community Day, to be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24 at Port Fun in Mathews. The Rev. Patrick Billups of Relevant Church, one of the organizers, said the group hopes to distribute 300 backpacks. Backpacks and school supplies may be donated at churches, The Daily Grind, All Around Auto and Riverside Convalescent Center, Mathews. Free food, music, games, and much more are planned for No Walls day. For information on donating, visit

Pack the Bus by Sonabank

Offices of Sonabank are collecting all types of school supplies, from binders to pencils and hand sanitizers, in that company’s Pack the Bus effort. Sonabank has offices in Gloucester and Gloucester Point.


The Gloucester Family YMCA and the Mathews Family YMCA are on board with the “Bright Beginnings” program. Each facility has a yellow wooden box in the shape of a bus, and asks patrons to “Stuff the Bus.” Monetary donations are also taken at each Y. The Mathews Y uses this collection to sponsor five children in Fresh Start, mentioned above.