Free 2 Teach: Non-Profit Giving Teachers Free Supplies

Wardynski First Board Meeting

So, quite a bit happened last night at the budget hearing and the board meeting. Much of it I’m still digesting (particularly the budget), and I’ll write about later over this long weekend. But since it’s Friday, I thought I’d write about something a little more positive. (Strange, I know, but it’s a long weekend, and I’m looking forward to hanging with family by the lake! Don’t worry, I’ve already got a couple of posts in the works that will return me to my normal cantankerous self.)

Last night The Schools Foundation offered a presentation about one of their latest initiatives called, Free 2 Teach. (For the record, I love the way our town volunteers to help others. It’s one of the best things about Huntsville.)

Free 2 Teach is a non-profit organization that will be a store house of at least seven “core items” of school/teaching supplies that will be made available, free of charge, to teachers in Huntsville City, Madison City, and Madison County Schools.

These seven core items are:

  • #2 Pencils
  • Pens
  • Crayons
  • Washable Markers
  • Glue Sticks
  • Copy Paper
  • Loose Leaf Paper

While this list doesn’t include the most commonly requested item (printer ink), I suspect that they will also have that available to teachers as well.

Beginning on January 10th in July. a group of volunteers, housed in West Huntsville Elementary School (one of the closed schools that the board has not yet sold), will open their doors for business to teachers. Once a month teachers will be invited to come and get the basic supplies that they need for their classroom.

Since it just doesn’t feel right for me to be too positive, let me stop here for a minute. What other business on the planet requires that its employees, beg, borrow, or purchase out of their own pocket the basic supplies that they need to do their job?

We have devalued education in this country so much that our cities, states, and our nation refuse to fund basic supplies. Those out there who claim that schools should operate like a business, how many of those businesses would retain their employees if they insisted that their employees buy their own copy paper?

It’s ridiculous that schools have to waste their time conducting paper drives. If you want to see schools improve, let teachers teach rather than fund raise.

But I digress. Free 2 Teach sounds like a great program that I will be supporting once they open for volunteers sometime in October. I encourage you to do the same.

More to come later this weekend, but until then, Happy Labor Day!

"Children see magic because they look for it." --Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Jesus' childhood pal.


  1. This is going to be a wonderful program; I was introduced to it this summer at our PTA Summer Leadership Training. I can’t wait for it to start!!

  2. It’s a great program, Russell, although I agree it’s one that shouldn’t be needed. It is crazy that HSC doesn’t supply the basic needs of a classroom. Regarding your statement about “running like a business”: You might be surprised to find out that even for businesses, this type of funding discrepancy exists. I work for GE….yes, the same GE that makes more profit that many, many other companies, yet cannot seem to provide basic office supplies like pens, highlighters, post-it notes, etc. Yes, you CAN get it if you really, really want it but the process is so bloated (hey did you check to see if your co-worker had some you could borrow…) that it isn’t worth it. It’s just easier to go buy your own supplies and not have to answer the question of why you need a red, green, AND blue highlighter.


  3. I have a B.A. in English and considered teaching when I was living in L.A., completing the CBEST test (a certification required to teach or substitute, I don’t recall now). Along with my own lack of motivation, funding problems like the ones you describe deterred me from entering the field. Now, I’m working minimum wage at Toys ‘R’ Us…

    It’s tough to have to purchase your own supplies, particularly since educators don’t get paid half as well as they should, in my opinion. It’s an occupational hazard. Even profitable retailers like Best Buy (which I once worked for) make their employees purchase their own uniforms (though I admit that’s not quite the expense ongoing teaching supplies would rack up).

    1. Harold,
      I know that many businesses require their employees who are on the lower end of the org chart to purchase their own supplies and uniforms, but just because “everyone” does it, doesn’t make it right! 🙂

      It’s interesting that the higher one moves up the org chart, the less likely it is that employee has to pay for anything work related out of his or her own pocket. I wonder if the superintendent has to purchase his own paper or printer toner, for example? Somehow I doubt it.

      But your point is well taken. Thanks for reading!

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