(WFXR) — Friday marks the start of the Commonwealth’s tax-free weekend, and with the new school year right around the corner, people are taking advantage of the deals where they can.

Every year during Virginia’s Sales Tax Holiday, Roanoke City Public Schools hosts its annual “Load the Bus” event where shoppers can use their tax-free savings to donate much-needed school supplies to those who cannot afford them.

The superintendent of Roanoke City Public Schools, Verletta White, says her mission is to make sure no student goes back to school unprepared.

“This is the most wonderful time of the year! It is back to school time and this is the time for us to make sure all of our students have what they need for a successful start to the school year,” said White.

As inflation continues to raise the prices of items, the superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools, Ken Nicely, says that many families are feeling the financial strain of back-to-school season.

“Everybody is feeling the pinch, right, of inflation, of higher prices, so anything that anybody can give, whether its just one box of crayons or one box of markers or some glue sticks, it really goes a long way,” said Nicely.

The “Load the Bus” event kicked off at 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5 and featured a cheerleading performance from two local schools, student musicians, and a school bus ready to be filled with supplies. Members of the Roanoke Valley community say they’re happy to do their part.

“I think it’s an excellent opportunity for us to contribute to the children who cannot afford this,” said supply donor Elizabeth Goforth.

The event will benefit students in Roanoke County Public Schools, Roanoke City Public Schools, Salem City Public Schools, and Craig County Public Schools. School officials say they will be accepting donations on an ongoing basis through Sunday, Aug. 7.