School Supplies: Tools for Learning
With the new school year upon us, for many children it means new clothes, freshly sharpened pencils, and a cool new backpack. Unfortunately, reality is very different for others. When families are on a tight budget their money must be used on priorities, like shelter and food, and many times things like new school supplies are not an option.
These kids often come to school without proper tools they need to learn and succeed. Children without school supplies have lower attendance rates, are more likely to do poorly in school and have higher dropout rates than other students. Many teachers use their own money to provide these kids with supplies, spending on average $1,000 a year of their own money.
The Houston Food Bank has partnered with Kids in Need Foundation to start a resource center in Houston called Teachers Aid. Teachers Aid opened in January 2014 to help supplement teachers with school supplies to be used in their classrooms. In order to shop at the Teachers Aid Center, a teacher must meet two requirements – (1) Teach at a school with a population of 70% or more on Free and Reduced Lunch and (2) Teach at a school participating in the Houston Food Bank’s Backpack Buddy Program.
One teacher who visited the Teachers Aid Center was over joyed to receive something as simple as a packet of pencils - saying that alone was a big help because it seems like the children “eat them” – they disappear so fast. The teachers serviced so far through this program have been truly appreciative of this effort. If you would like to help provide teachers and students the tools they need to succeed, you can help Teachers Aid in two ways:
1. Hold a school supply drive collecting “core product” which includes pens, pencils, markers, crayons, glue, paper, and notebooks
2. Volunteer by stocking shelves or helping teachers shop – you can sign up for shifts through the Houston Food Bank website.