Load the Bus campaign asks for school supply donations over Tax Free Weekend

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Roanoke Valley students are looking for help from shoppers taking advantage of Tax Free Weekend.

Load the Bus kicked off Friday at Bonsack, Clearbrook, Salem, and Valley View Walmarts.

The campaign helps schools in Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Salem, and Botetourt County.

The schools are asking for any supplies to be donated as there are thousands of children who need these items but don't get to go school shopping.

Roanoke City Public Schools Superintendent Rita Bishop explained, "For many of my students, that experience doesn't happen. We make it happen and everybody in this community makes it happen because they understand the importance of supplies and even clothing to your school experience."

Roanoke County Public Schools Superintendent Greg Killough added, "Sometimes people mask the need and we don't always see it, but we have still at least 20 percent of our students that have a need in our school district."

City Schools said 76 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch and there were close to 600 homeless students in the district in 2015-2016.

The districts said examples of supplies they are in need of are crayons, markers, erasers, notebooks, glue sticks, and even book bags.

Schools get a lot of requests for book bags because they can be between $10 and $20, which some parents struggle to afford.