PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The countdown to the new school year is on! A Portsmouth native makes it her mission to ensure students have the supplies they need every year.

For eight years, Cathy Ballard-Sugars hosts the “South Norfolk Jordan Bridge Walk w/a Purpose.” Ballard- Sugars came up with the idea because she loves to walk the Jordan Bridge for exercise.

“I just wanted to give back to my community. I’m from Portsmouth. I love my city!” Ballard-Sugars explains.

Every year, she picks a new elementary school to donate to. This year the supplies will go to Brighton Elementary School.

“I didn’t know we had this many elementary schools! So, I still have a few to go to!”

Unfortunately, the organizer had to sit out on this year’s walk because she has vertigo and is recovering from a recent surgery.

“This year I couldn’t do it this time.” Ballard-Sugars said she plans to make the walk over the Elizabeth River next year, “God willing!”

The walk starts with a prayer for the city and students. 

“My son went to Portsmouth schools. He went to Churchland and it’s just a good cause to give back. I appreciate her heart in doing it,” said Capris Elmore, a loyal and supportive friend. “Sometimes we’re chanting ‘Portsmouth kids, Portsmouth kids’ just to get us over the hump! It’s a struggle but I can always say ‘every year, I walk from Portsmouth to Chesapeake.'”

Ballard-Sugars plans to drop off the bookbags, pencils, glue sticks and notebooks during the first week of school.