Overwhelming response at back-to-school rally

By Nicole Bell - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - Dozens of children who showed up for a back-to-school give-away left empty-handed.

It happened at the Northside Back-to-School Rally in Richmond.

The event drew such a large crowd that it took less than an hour to hand out hundreds of goodie bags filled with school supplies.

School leaders say students who left empty-handed will get a goodie bag on the first day of school.

The event was supposed to last five hours.

But within 30 minutes all 600 bags filled with free school supplies had been given away.

"I have some composition notebooks, divider, paper, they are very generous," said 15-year-old Tyler Taylor. "We don't have to spend as much and go around shopping for good deals."

Rida Heywood is a nursing student with four kids in the Richmond Public School system.

"I've spent $120 already on binders, bookbags, lunch boxes," she said.

Heywood showed up to the rally about 40 minutes after it started.

By then, the tables were empty.

All the goodie bags gone.

"We got here a little late so I expected there wasn't going to be much," she said. "But I didn't expect there wasn't going to be anything."

Parents of students who left empty handed filled out a form.

"For every child who showed up who didn't get a back to school pack we're going to know which school the child is from," said organizer Thomas Beatty. "On the first day of school those packs are going to be in those schools."

It's a financial relief for Heywood who says every little bit is a big help.

"The economy is rough right now and it's hard to make sure they have the clothing they need as well as school supplies," said Heywood.

Several Brookland Park area civic groups, community organizations and businesses sponsored the back-to-school rally.

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