RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The nonprofit Northside Coalition for Children Inc. held its 13th annual citywide back to school rally at Liberation Church in Richmond on Saturday.
The Northside Coalition for Children’s (NCC) rally aims to provide children and families in the Richmond-area with free backpacks and other school supplies, Dr. Shonda M. Harris-Muhammed, NCC’s founder and executive director, told 8News.
“The importance of this is having families know that there is a resource, there is support and there is enough love in the community, particularly coming from NCC, that will provide just a simple bit of love stuffed in a backpack so students can start their school year off right,” Dr. Harris-Muhammed said in an interview.
The nonprofit also provides free resources to teachers ahead of the school year. Dr. Harris-Muhammed said many teachers have had to use their own money to pay for school supplies, saying that before the pandemic that some would spend upwards of $2,000 every few months on supplies for their students.
She also noted that parents typically spend upwards of $45 on backpacks alone.
Dr. Harris-Muhammed began Saturday’s event by talking about her own personal experience of not having school supplies for the first day of first grade. She told people who came to Saturday’s rally that her first grade teacher called her and her mother out in front of her classmates because she was sent to class without supplies.
“No child, none, should walk into a school without having the necessary resources they need on the first day of school,” she told 8News. “No teacher should prepare their classroom without the resources that they need. So, my organization does that, for free.”