Palm Beach County teachers stock classrooms with supplies for students in need

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 5:35 PM EDT
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There are less than 24 hours to go until thousands of Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast teachers open up their classrooms for the new school year.

But making sure they are fully stocked with all the supplies they need is no easy feat, especially with rising prices and inflation.

First grade teacher Kimberly Eisele on Tuesday shopped the bonus section at the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County's Red Apple Supplies store in Riviera Beach.

"It was difficult this summer," Eisele said. "I bought just the bare. Name tags, things I need. So this bonus shopping will definitely help out."

Eisele spends about $1,000 on her classroom each school year, as does Cherry Doctor, who teaches high school in the Glades.

"Usually every pay period I shop for myself and I shop for them, too. So this helps cut that down a lot," Doctor said. "We still have kids who come to school still not prepared. Not because of their own doing, but because of the family situation that they’re in. And so that’s why we do it."

When those teachers have opportunity to shop for free at Red Apple Supplies, they take it.

"A lot of our families don’t have the means to buy everything the kids need," Eisele said. "So to be able to come here every year and get the extra essentials they need is amazing."

Red Apple Supplies works with 76 Palm Beach County schools where a majority of students are living at or below the poverty line.

Twice a year, teachers can place an order for whatever classroom supplies they need.

"Now with COVID and the inflation of pricing, the need is so much greater," said Teresa Dabrowski, the chief engagement officer for the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County. "But the community support is so much greater, so you have these new companies that want to come in and make a difference."

When teachers make their orders to Red Apple Supplies, they submit a list of everything they need for their classroom. Volunteers go to the Red Apple Supplies store in Riviera Beach and get the items off their list.

"Most of it is gone from now until December," Eisele said. "So we just give it to the kids and they learn so much better when they have the supplies they need."

In addition to the teacher shops, the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County has also been busy stuffing backpacks. The organization has delivered more than 16,000 backpacks full of supplies to Palm Beach County schools, more than double what it did last year.

"We're giving the kids the confidence and the hope that they can start the first day feeling successful," Dabrowski said.

The simple supplies that make a world of difference.

For more information about the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County, click here.

Scripps Only Content 2022