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School supplies your child’s teacher can’t afford… and how you can help

Don’t just assume all those supplies your kids use at school come out of the district’s budget. It’s very likely that a lot of them come right out of the teacher’s pocket.

Support your child’s classroom
Teacher in front of class

School districts do what they can to give teachers supplies they need, but it’s seldom enough. Instead of letting the students go without, teachers often reach deep into their own budgets to provide supplies for their classrooms. Some of the supplies that teachers often need are:

  • Copy paper
  • Loose-leaf paper
  • Erasers
  • Tissues
  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Ziploc bags
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Paper towels
  • Dry erase markers
  • Books (for the classroom library and reading groups)

How can you help?

So how can you help? There are a few ways you can step in and help take some of this burden away from your child’s teacher, and not all of them involve you opening your wallet.


Many of the supplies teachers need can be purchased for free or extremely cheap when you combine manufacturer’s coupons with sales and/or store coupons. Comb adds for sales, and check with the store to verify their coupon policy before you make a large purchase. If you see a great deal coming up, ask friends, family and other parents to donate coupons to the cause.

Hold a supply drive

Set up boxes at local churches, grocery stores, community buildings and at the school. Include a sign asking for supplies. You’ll be surprised at how many people will donate, especially if you set the box up someplace where the products can be purchased.

Want to hold an even more effective drive? Set up outside of a store, and have students hand out lists of needed supplies to customers as they walk in. Several of them will probably walk out with a donation of supplies.

Look for sponsors

Ask local businesses to pitch in. Agree to post the names of contributing businesses on a banner outside of the school or in a newsletter (get a printing business to donate the banner). In exchange for the publicity, ask them for supplies or money to buy supplies.

Hold fundraisers

Wash cars, have a bake sale, sell candy bars and magazines. The possibilities for fundraisers are almost endless, and they can all bring in extra cash to help the teachers get what they need.

Keep in mind

A little goes a long way. Pick up one extra supply when you go to the store weekly or monthly and send it to school with your child.

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