Free school supply programs alleviate back to school cost for NCFL teachers

Free school supply programs alleviate back to school cost for NCFL teachers
Published: Aug. 4, 2023 at 7:47 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Alachua County public school teachers can take advantage of a whole range of free classroom, office, and school supplies.

“Having a resource like this in the community will help teachers feel supported” said Yasmeen Fuller, who is returning back to the classroom after taking a break.

Mrs. Fuller will begin teaching 1st grade at Lawton Chiles Elementary this school year.

“Stepping back into teaching I’ve realized oh my, I only have a few resources! So let me get back into the swing of things and that’s where Tools For Schools really helped me” said Fuller.

Tools For Schools has been helping teachers like Mrs. Fuller for the past 20 years by providing free school, art, and office supplies.

“A lot of our students live under the poverty level,” said coordinator, Alanna Carinio. “They are not able to able to supply the school supplies they need and bring them to the classroom, so teachers end up having to compensate for that out of their pockets. We exist to lift that burden off of our teachers and students”

Tools for Schools is a partnership between the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners and public school officials.

Donations come from community members, local businesses, and the University of Florida.

“Teachers are able to come here once a month to the brick-and-mortar location or our mobile location and they are able to take school supplies. They take the supplies, write down what they take and the quantity of what they take” said Carinio.

The physical location is near Williams elementary school on SE 7th Ave in Gainesville.

It is open every Wednesday from 1-5 pm.

The mobile unit travels to Newberry, High Springs, Hawthorne, Alachua, Micanopy, and Archer on Tuesdays.

“It should inspire teachers that they can do it. As I’m creating my classroom it’s a second home for me and a second home for my students. so for me, I want to create a classroom community to where they are excited to come to school but they also have the resources for them to flourish in academics” said Fuller.

Marion County has a similar program called Tools For Teaching.

In Columbia County, public school teachers can take advantage of the Educator’s Emporium program.

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