With back-to-school sales just around the corner, many parents and teachers are picking up fresh supplies: crisp new notebooks, packs of pencils, unworn erasers, and other necessities. But in schools serving low-income communities, students often show up without the needed materials. To help teachers in those schools stock up for themselves and their students, a trade group representing office-supply manufacturers and retailers has opened free stores in 21 U.S. cities.
The stores, sponsored by the School, Home, & Office Products Association, based in Dayton, Ohio, offer notebooks, crayons, paper, scissors, and other products donated by its members—including excess inventory, returned or slightly damaged merchandise, and outdated products—to K-12 teachers through the Kids in Need Foundation. The foundation has helped supply the classrooms of some 65,000 teachers since 1995. It also offers small grants to teachers to help provide resources for innovative lesson plans and creative classroom projects.
For more information and a list of locations for the SHOPA resource centers, go to www.kidsinneed.net.
A version of this article appeared in the August 10, 2005 edition of Education Week