Clay County Facebook group helping teachers stock classrooms with needed supplies

As the school year approaches, a Clay County mom is leading the charge to help teachers stock their classrooms with needed supplies.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – As the school year approaches, a Clay County mom is leading the charge to help teachers stock their classrooms with needed supplies.

Alina Penjiyeva, a mother of two who works in real estate, said she donated through the Stock Our Schools Facebook Clay County group last year, but when the administrator stepped down, she stepped in to help connect teachers in need of supplies with the Clay County community.

The group has over 3,600 members. They include teachers and community members who want to help Clay County teachers get the extra supplies they need.

“Teachers are calling it Christmas in July,” Penjiyeva said. “Last year, I was a donor, and I sponsored several teachers. And I was so happy the entire month of August because I knew I sponsored teachers, and they’re using the items that I said, it was just brought so much joy to me.”

Now she’s helping the group grow and showing love for Clay County teachers.

“So teachers are really, really important for all of us, for all of us as a society and for our little, you know, tight-knit Clay County. I’m a mom, and my son who’s four years old, just started last year, and the change I’ve seen in him, the change it brought to our family. That teacher has been everything to us,” Penjiyeva said.

The Facebook group has helped share over 600 wish lists from teachers all over the county. Penjiyeva said teachers are getting donations from local businesses, anonymous donors and people who don’t even have children in the school system.

Vicki Kidwell, president of the Clay County teachers union, said community support is more important than ever during a time that many teachers are leaving the profession, which adds to the ongoing teacher shortage.

“We need our community to get behind our teachers,” Kidwell told News4JAX. “Teachers always work with parents in the community. And so if someone in the community is stepping up and spearheading a push for helping teachers supply their classrooms, I think that’s wonderful.”

Penjiyeva said the group is still looking for donors to give before school starts for students on Aug. 10.

“We have first-year teachers, they’re just graduating from college and they have to start in their classroom brand new,” she said. “So they really need items like pencil sharpeners and dry board and razors and color paper for printing. So these are simple items. They’re less than $10 in you can support your local teacher.”

To donate to a teacher, visit the Stock Our Schools Clay County page on Facebook (When prompted with the question “Where are the best teachers?” to join the group, answer “Clay County”) or go to this link to see a list of teachers and their requests.

About the Author:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.