Mayor’s Minute | Back-to-School Backpacks and More | VA Sales Tax Holiday

Wesley Community Service Center to Host Back-to-School

Event for Portsmouth Students on August 7th  

Wesley Community Service Center volunteers are gearing up for one of their favorite events, the annual Back-to-School Backpack Giveaway to take place Saturday, August 7th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1701 Elm Avenue in Portsmouth.  Portsmouth students in grades K-12 can stop by the Center during the giveaway to pick up a free backpack, along with pens, pencils, crayons, glue sticks and notebooks, while supplies last.

The Portsmouth Lion’s Club will be on hand to oversee free vision screenings for youth attending the event. Those needing vision corrections will receive a referral for a free pair of eyeglasses. In addition, staff from the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office will be on hand to share news about the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program. This prevention initiative focuses on educating K-12 students about the consequences of drug abuse, while providing skills for resisting peer pressure with regard to drug, alcohol and tobacco use.

Tutoring for Students and School Uniforms

While at the event, parents and students can inquire about tutoring.  The Center is offering math, science, and English tutoring sessions for students in grades 2-10.  For $50 a month, per child, students can take up to three 30-minute tutoring sessions per week with certified teachers.  The program begins August 30th, with limited spots available. Call the Center to register at (757) 399-0541.

            In addition, students can shop the Center’s Clothes Closet for new school uniform separates and gently used back-to-school apparel for $1 an item.

Those who wish to contribute supplies to the giveaway can do so through the Center’s supply list at


Serving Portsmouth’s Southside communities, the Wesley Community Service Center provides programs and assistance that support minority empowerment, while building community across racial, economic, and social barriers. For more information, visit                                                                

Virginia Sales Tax Holiday August 6th through August 8th

The 3-day sales tax holiday starts the first Friday in August at 12:01 a.m. and ends the following Sunday at 11:59 p.m.  This year, that’s August 6th through August 8th.

During the sales tax holiday, you can buy qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star™ and WaterSense™ products without paying sales tax.

Eligible Items

School supplies, clothing, and footwear;

Qualified school supplies – $20 or less per item;

Qualified clothing and footwear – $100 or less per item;

Hurricane and emergency preparedness products; 

Portable generators – $1,000 or less per item;

Gas-powered chainsaws – $350 or less per item;

Chainsaw accessories – $60 or less per item;

Other specified hurricane preparedness items – $60 or less per item;

Energy Star™ and WaterSense™​ products

Qualifying Energy Star™ or WaterSense™ products purchased for noncommercial home or personal use – $2,500 or less per item