Kids in the US are more than hungry.
While important, food will not satisfy all their needs.
Kids need to learn, in good schools, with well-prepared teachers—teachers who can offer kids every tool they need to grow into a successful future.
Feed the Children walks alongside teachers to help make this happen, as much as we are able.
Thanks to generous partners like the Office Depot Foundation, for the past three years, we’ve operated a Teacher Store within our distribution warehouse in Oklahoma City. (We have recently opened similar stores near Nashville, Tennessee and Elkhart, Indiana as well).
Two afternoons a week during the school year, the Teacher Store opens for instructors to shop for free for their classroom. They are given reusable bags to fill with whatever supplies they feel they need. They find everything from sets of books for reading groups, to markers, labels, bulletin board materials and classroom furniture, all available on a first come, first served basis. Feed the Children staff members greet each teacher and assist as needed.
Charme and JoAnn, teachers at Shawnee Early Learning Center in Shawnee, OK have been coming to the Feed the Children Teacher Store for the past two years. They both say that their kindergarten classrooms are better equipped to help kids learn thanks to the supplies from the Teacher Store.
Charme told us, “With budget cuts, money is tight at our school. Often we are spending our own money to buy supplies. But thanks to the Teacher Store, we are doing less and less of this!”
JoAnn added, “We love coming here because we can give our kids so many more opportunities to learn.”
Once a month, the teachers can return to shop again. Many do, and they bring their colleagues.
Debbie, a kindergarten teacher at Windsor Hills Elementary in Oklahoma City says she loves coming to the Teacher Store because, “The selection is great, especially the books. I find so many things here that I don’t have to buy on my own.”
The sad truth is that many kids in America arrive at school without the most basic supplies. How can children learn without paper, pens, computers, and books? How will they be prepared to make it as adults without adequate training in school? They won’t.
Many teachers, often already underpaid, care so much about their students’ education that they spend their own money for classroom supplies for their students. On average, teachers spend at least $500 of their own money on resources to help their students learn.
One special education teacher, Yeneer who works at Western Heights Elementary in Oklahoma City, told us that because the challenges her students and their families face are so great, school supplies are quite low on their parents’ priority list. Because of the Feed the Children Teacher Store, she’s able to provide her students with basic supplies.
“I love that my kids don’t feel less than,” she said. “With your help, my students feel more like all the other kids.”
That’s why it’s so important to us to support these teachers. When teachers receive the best resources possible, they’re free to focus all their energy and resources on teaching. And that gives their students every opportunity to learn and achieve great things.
We are indebted to the corporate donors who help stock our Teacher Stores each month, including TOPS Products, School Specialty, Excelligence Learning Corporation, BIC, Hachette Book Group, First Book, Disney Publishing, Scholastic and The Creative Company. They believe in our mission of providing hope for those without life’s essentials.
Together, we’re helping more kids be kids and learn to their fullest potential in school this year!