CLAY COUNTY – Your favorite teachers need your help now.
As the nation, state and Clay County scramble to begin the 2020-21 school year, teachers are having to double, triple and even quadruple-up on supplies. This is because instead of having a community drawer for glue sticks, pencils and other supplies, each student will need to have their own as a result of COVID-19.
As important as teaching sharing to young students, sharing isn’t something students will be able to do for the time being.
“Teachers already have to spend a lot of money, often their own, on school supplies,” Thunderbolt Elementary first grade teacher Jennifer Bader said. “Kids can’t share supplies this year so we’ll need more.”
Bader knew firsthand the struggle of gathering and purchasing enough supplies for the new school year, so she began to look into ways to help other teachers. She learned of a special Facebook page in Leon County where teachers were posting their shopping lists for school and others in the group would buy them some or all of the things they needed.
That inspired Bader to create the Stock Our Schools Clay County Facebook group. Teachers can post their school supply lists in the group and people can purchase them and have them shipped to the teacher’s address either anonymously or known. Bader expected the Facebook group to be helpful because she believes the county to be great at coming together but she didn’t expect the group’s numbers to blow past 1,500 members within a few days.
Bader said the outpouring of support has been phenomenal and that each day, teachers are receiving supplies and then some.
“There’s teachers giving to other teachers, teachers getting anonymous donations from random people they don’t know, teachers getting supplies from former students … it’s really opened up a lot of doors for Clay County teachers,” Bader said. “We’re all going to need a lot of supplies for sanitization and for just general things and this has been such a success.”
Bader said one teacher received eight packages in a single day. Beyond it being helpful, it’s proven to be a source of positivity in a moment in time where positivity is really appreciated.
“A lot of teachers are nervous and scared about this school year,” Bader said. “This Facebook group has turned into a really beautiful thing. To see our community come together in this way, it’s a glimmer of hope that lifts our spirits.”
“All of these local teachers are being shown that they are loved, that they are appreciated and that they’re cared for,” she said.
If you’re interested in donating or purchasing supplies for the teachers, you can join the Stock our Schools Clay County Facebook group. It’s a private group but Bader said that’s just to protect the list of the teachers. Once you’re in the group, you’ll find lists to purchase from and success stories galore.