Volunteers hand out free school supplies at the Rock the Community back-to-school event


Rock the Community held its annual back-to-school event on Saturday to supply members of the Columbia community with free school supplies and clothing.

Vendors from across the city set up tents or donated supplies to the event. The supply drive was scheduled from 2 pm to 7 pm, but due to the heat and running out of supplies, the event ended at 5 pm

Rita Renee is the Director of Rock the Community, and she said the event happens every year, and if you missed today’s event, she said there are other options.

“This is our annual event, but we have a monthly food drive.” Renee said. “Our next food drive will be geared towards fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh herbs.”

Upcoming events can be found on its Facebook page, or on its website.

The supply drive took place during the Back-to-School sales tax holiday weekend. Columbia is one of five Mid-Missouri cities to opt out of the Back-to-School Tax Holiday that would give families a tax break for school supplies the first weekend of August.

Columbia, Fayette, Booneville, California and Jefferson City all chose to opt out of the tax holiday that aims to save family money on back-to-school shopping.

Destiny Nelson and her friends and family take the two-hour drive from St. Louis to Columbia every year to volunteer at Rock the Community.

“We can take the tax break, but these people out here are getting this stuff for free,” Nelson said. “So come on, you know, that’s why stuff like this is very important because it’s all donations. It’s all from the community for the community.”

According to the Department of Revenue, Missouri’s back-to-school tax holiday started Friday morning and will end Sunday night. During the weekend the state waives its 4.225% sales tax rate on certain back-to-school items.

This is a developing story, check back for updates and watch ABC 17 News at 10 pm

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