Tools for Schools
Teachers Get Free Classroom Supplies Through United Way of Broward County, Publix Super Markets and Suddath Relocation Systems
More than 700 teachers from schools across Broward County flocked to Deerfield Beach on Saturday, January 25, 2020, to receive over $300,000 in free school supplies and gift cards, courtesy of the seventh annual Tools for Schools, an event presented by United Way of Broward County in partnership with Publix Super Markets and Suddath Relocation Systems.
For months, thousands of cases of paper, pencils, crayons, markers, scissors and more had been stored in Suddath’s huge facility. These mountains of supplies – purchased through donations from Publix Super Markets shoppers -- were later moved outdoors to create a drive-through stock-up line, which teachers entered with their cars. Waiting volunteers filled vehicle trunks and back seats with the free supplies as teachers grinned and waved their appreciation.
For educators like Erin, a first-grade teacher in Fort Lauderdale, Tools for Schools is an annual tradition she depends on. “So many of my students come to school without supplies because their parents can’t afford them,” she said. “Through Tools for Schools, I am able to give them their own supplies they can use in the classroom and also take home for homework.” Erin said she is careful to distribute the supplies to the neediest students and has made what she receives last January last throughout this past year. “Tools for Schools means the world to me. It is so helpful. I am so grateful.”
Middle school teacher Meta agreed that the supplies are very valuable. She was first in the Tools for Schools waiting line, arriving at 1:00 a.m. -- eight hours before the gates opened at Suddath Relocation Systems. Meta said, “The stipend we receive to buy school supplies at the beginning of the school year isn’t enough to last throughout the year. Yes, schools are using technology more for learning, but kids also need to learn how to write their own names – and we need paper and pencils for that. Tools for Schools helps so much in the middle of the year when our supplies run out.”
Diveeta is a fifth-grade teacher who lives in Clewiston and drives more than one and a half hours each day to her school in Lauderdale Lakes. She has taken money out of her own pocket to purchase supplies in the past, and was thrilled to be able to participate in Tools for Schools for the first time this year. “Tools for Schools means I can supply my kids with what they need to learn,” she said.
Tools for Schools is part of our mission to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Broward County. To learn more about our education pillar, click here.