(From release) Free 2 Teach is calling on citizens to participate in Wednesday’s School Supply Drop Off on August 8, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., 607 Airport Road in front of Trinity United Methodist Church. They point to seven core items that are essential to a student’s success including pencils, pens, crayons, washable markers, glue sticks, copy paper, and loose leaf paper.
“We hope everyone will drop by and drop off tomorrow,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle during a news conference to support the supply drive. “The start of the school year is critically important to a child, and we want to do everything we can to make certain students have the tools they need to do well.”
Joining Mayor Battle in the call for support are Chapman Principal Glen Bryant and Huntsville Council of PTAs president Elisa Ferrell. They say many pre K-12 students in Huntsville, Madison, and Madison County public schools cannot afford basic school supplies. As a result, most teachers spent between $500 and $1,000 of their own money each year to purchase supplies for their classrooms and to help children most in need.
Free 2 Teach is working to help fill the void. The non-profit, in cooperation with Huntsville City Schools, is supporting public education by operating a volunteer run resource store stocked with free teaching materials and classroom supplies in the old West Huntsville Elementary School.
“Many of us can recall our school days and the excitement of arriving with our new box of supplies, filled with hope and promise of a great academic year,” said Nancy Jones, co-founder of Free 2 Teacher. “We want all students to have a strong start.”
Jones says cash gifts are welcome, and respectfully requests that donated supplies are new and in their original packaging. Exceptions include gently used books, educational videos and games, and functioning calculators.
A longer teacher wish list includes construction paper, spiral notebooks, composition books, rulers, scissors, highlighters, soap, tissues, paper towels, hand sanitizer, books, index cards, educational games, educational videos, art supplies, and any item that supports the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) curriculum.
“Our short term goal is to make certain that these supplies will help every child be confident and ready to learn,” said Eula Battle, co-founder of Free 2 Teach. “In the long term, our goal is to allow 3,500 teachers in Madison County's 84 public schools to "shop" for free items, and to make sure more than 50,000 students in our community have adequate classroom materials.”
With the ongoing support of businesses, local and state government, civic organizations, and individuals, the store will supplement teachers in their efforts to deliver effective learning experiences to all children in grades Pre-K to 12.