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RICHMOND, Va. – For thousands of students across central Virginia, the dawn of a new school year starts Tuesday.

And many people came out to celebrate Sunday.

Marcello, an engineer with Henrico County's Department of Public Utilities, teamed with other county leaders, including police and fire fighters to spread a message of hope in the Hilliard Road community.

That is where backpacks and school supplies were handed out along with clothing.

The goal is to give students a proud send off.

"The sky’s the limit once you tape into yourself and once you tap into yourself you can go far," Marcello said. "We are all the same under our skin. It doesn't matter the color, age or anything. We are all here as one to support each other."

Back to school event.

Back to school event.

In the City of Richmond, the 26th Masonic District joined forces with Richmond police officers to give away more backpacks and school supplies to several in the Church Hill community.

But it wasn't the only highlight of the day- as students had plenty of time for food and fun.

"We want to see them get a good start and we're praying that what we do today will help them," organizer Brenda Scott said.

The faith-based community also offered words of encouragement.

United Communities Against Crime teamed up with church leaders, offering not only school supplies and free haircuts, but a prayer rally.

"When you look at TV and you look around, a lot of parents feel people don't care about them," Pastor Timothy Kirven said. "But there are people who care about them."

It is a message that faith leaders hope students carry with them throughout the year.

"We do care about our children -- all of our children,” Kirven said. “We believe in giving kids hope."