Military families receive back-to-school items, further saving them money on Tax-Free Weekend

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Posted at 3:03 PM, Aug 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-07 18:32:38-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Whether you're shopping for back-to-school supplies and clothes at the store or online, this weekend may be the best time to pencil that off your to-do list.

That's because it's Tax-Free Weekend in Virginia.

"The point is for people to be able to purchase these items without paying sales tax and to save a little money,” Stephanie Benson, a spokesperson with the Virginia Department of Taxation, said. “It's a great opportunity to do that, to stock up on back-to-school supplies."

That includes supplies up to $20 per item or clothing up to $100 for each item. But it's not just limited to school supplies and clothes, Benson explained.

"Portable generators of $1,000 or less and items that cost $60 or less -- things like batteries and flashlights,” Benson said. “And the last category is Energystar and Watersense products that cost $2,500 or less per item."

The Commonwealth created a list of qualified items within the different categories, monetary limits, and restrictions.

While some families were saving money from not having to pay sales tax, other families -- specifically military families -- they were able to scour up some free supplies and backpacks at the Norfolk Premium Outlets.

That included Holly Ward and her husband who were able to get some supplies for their three children thanks to the Back-to-School Brigade.

"It helps just kind of ease that burden to where maybe we could get a few extra things for school clothes,” Ward said, “or maybe let them get their fancy pencil box or something extra that may have been out of budget."

The brigade was hosted by the non-profit organization Operation Homefront, which provided 600 military families with backpacks filled with school supplies. They have operated several of these brigades across the nation, including one in Newport News, last weekend. That is according to the organization’s digital manager Catherine McCarthy.

"Many military families move in the summertime and the advancement of the school year, that can be stressful and expensive,” McCarthy said. “So by helping them with back-to-school supplies we're kind of alleviating an extra financial burden they might have."

With the money Ward is saving, "We did not know it was Tax-Free (Weekend),” Ward said. “But now that I know maybe we should do some school supply shopping and school clothes shopping too."

Operation Homefront supports military service members and their families such as with events like the Back-to-School Brigade. McCarthy added the organization continues to seek donations as well as volunteers.

If you would like to contribute or help out, more information can be found by clicking here.