Clay Chamber to send teachers back to classrooms with day of food, fun and supplies

Teacher Appreciation Expo scheduled for Aug. 3 at Baptist Clay Medical Office Building

By Wesley LeBlanc wesley@opcfla.com
Posted 7/21/21

CLAY COUNTY — If you’re a teacher, there’s a box of school supplies with your name on it.

The Clay Chamber Teacher Appreciation Expo has been going on for more than a decade, and each year …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

Clay Chamber to send teachers back to classrooms with day of food, fun and supplies

Teacher Appreciation Expo scheduled for Aug. 3 at Baptist Clay Medical Office Building

Posted

CLAY COUNTY — If you’re a teacher, there’s a box of school supplies with your name on it.

The Clay Chamber Teacher Appreciation Expo has been going on for more than a decade, and each year it serves as a celebration of Clay County’s teachers and a way to help them prepare for the upcoming school year. It’s a day of food, drinks, fun and school supplies.

“I inherited this event, but it’s been going on for at least 10 years, I think,” Clay County Chamber of Commerce president Wendell Chindra said. “We raise a lot of money for this event and none of it goes toward chamber operations. It all goes toward our teachers...and whatever’s left over goes toward our scholarships.”

This year’s event will be on Aug. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Baptist Clay Medical Office Building (the old VyStar building) on Fleming Island at 2310 Village Square Pkwy. Teachers interested should register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/clay-chamber-of-commerce-teacher-appreciation-expo-2021-tickets-160198083781.

There are no fees or charges. Each teacher will receive a box on their way out of the expo filled with pens, paper and plenty of other school supplies. Community First Credit Union is sponsoring a $500 classroom makeover for one lucky teacher, and according to the credit union, they’re giving away up to $250 cash to every teacher.

“What we do is we take the money – whatever it is that we raise – partner with organizations and then go to Staples,” Chindra said. “Staples sells me $31,000 of supplies, subsidized through their foundation, and those $31,000 of supplies cost us $12,000.”

The leftover money helps fund the DJ, food vendors and other entertainment offerings. Whatever’s leftover from that will go into the hands of local students. The expo was canceled last year by COVID-19, but in 2019, there was $14,000 leftover and Chindra said Clay Chamber gave out 14 scholarships worth $1,000 each.

“The teachers come out and the entire expo is about them,” Chindra said. “All of our sponsors have booths there with information to help them, the Jacksonville Icemen will be there as will the Girl Scouts...there’s going to be a ton of people there for them...and everyone is there to simply say ‘thank you’ to them for their hard work each year.

“We make zero dollars off of the event. It’s not a funding operation for the Chamber. It’s our way of giving back to our teachers in the community. It’s that simple.”

Chindra said another exciting aspect of this event is the supply packing day on July 29 at Challenger Enterprises in Green Cove Springs. He said all of the volunteers will gather there at 9 a.m. to pack the boxes with supplies. More than 400 teachers already have registered for the event, and he said the Chamber is expecting at least 800 teachers to register by Aug. 3.

“It’s going to be a really special day,” Chindra said. “It’s just a bunch of people coming together to volunteer their time. And then on Aug. 3, it’s a day of celebrating our teachers and everything they do for us as a community.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here