CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – The need for classroom supplies is compounded in the age of COVID-19 but members of the Clay County community are coming through for educators with online donations, one teacher said.
Jennifer Bader, a first-grade instructor at Thunderbolt Elementary, said she was planning for the upcoming school year and wondering how her supply needs would be different now that COVID-19 prevents sharing among students.
“As a teacher starting out a brand new year with a pandemic, I didn’t know what I needed on my wishlist,” Bader said. “I’m going to need completely different items. The need this year is definitely different because of the types of items that we need because of the supply-sharing is not going to be able to be happening. Students are going to have to distance and have their own supplies.”
Bader said she searched for information online and ran across a Facebook group called “Stock Our Schools: Leon County.”
The group’s description read, “Connecting Leon County, FL teacher wish lists with community members who desire to help our area classrooms by donating extra supplies during this unprecedented time. Teachers, staff, and school district staff can post Amazon/Walmart/Target/Donors Choose list in Albums organized by schools.”
Inspired by the group’s efforts, Bader launched a counterpart group for the community of Clay County, which has garnered more than 2,300 members since its July 29 launch.
“We’re shy about asking for materials that we definitely need,” Bader said. “So, being able to just put our wishlists out there and just having anonymous people pick it up…it really is amazing to see.”
As teachers post their online wishlists to the group, dozens of items have been subsequently ordered by friends, family, former students and even anonymous donors.
As the deliveries are received, recipient teachers post photos of the supplies they’ve received along with a note of heartfelt thanks.