Teachers encouraged to pick up free school supplies at Tools 4 Clay

By Wesley LeBlanc wesley@opcfla.com
Posted 7/21/21

CLAY COUNTY – Tools 4 Clay Schools back-to-school is happening soon and it’s a great way for teachers to stock up on supplies they need for free.

The Clay Education Foundation has been holding …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

Teachers encouraged to pick up free school supplies at Tools 4 Clay

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – Tools 4 Clay Schools back-to-school is happening soon and it’s a great way for teachers to stock up on supplies they need for free.

The Clay Education Foundation has been holding Tools 4 Clay Schools events for years and before this year, it was an event held somewhere on a Clay County school campus. However, the foundation opened up a new supply store earlier this year at Orange Park Junior High, and now teachers have a great centralized location to pick up supplies periodically throughout the year.

“The Clay Education Foundation’s Tools 4 Clay Schools Store is hosting its first of four total shops for Clay County public school teachers on Aug. 2 from noon to 5 p.m.,” foundation executive director Makayla Buchanan said. “Teachers can expect the same high-quality shopping experience they’ve seen grow in recent years, where the Store looks similar to what you might see in Office Depot or Staples with shelves and an array of school supplies.”

Buchanan said they look at back-to-school supply guides and ask teachers in Clay County what they need before purchasing supplies. There are plenty of the standard supplies like pens, pencils and paper, but there are also unique items requested by teachers in there, too. For example, cleaning supplies are more popular than they’ve ever been due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teachers who are interested will need to register online to pick a specific time slot for pickup.

“Teachers are asked to register online for a specific time slot, which will be the same for all four shops this year, to help eliminate long waiting times,” Buchanan said. “That link is where their login information is temporarily set, for convenience, to be their school district email address with the password ‘education.’”

Teachers in the district should already have that link and information. The shop is funded by the Clay Education Foundation and the community that constantly supports them.

“We are lucky at the foundation to have great and growing community support behind our teachers and our Tools 4 Clay Schools free teacher store,” Buchanan said. “Through the combination of collection bins, monetary donations and sponsorships, we are able to keep the store funded with free school supplies for teachers year-round. During the pandemic, we also saw many companies downsizing their offices and brought those items to us, so folks from banks like VyStar and Community First donated binders, organization shelves, paper and more.”

Buchanan said businesses and organizations like the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the Clay County Utility Authority and more throughout Clay County put collection bins out and about during the summer season. That’s one way supplies are gathered, but monetary donations and sponsorships throughout the community also funds the program.

“Key to the success of the store is our partnerships with community businesses and groups like The Bailey Group (the event’s title sponsor), Capital City Bank, rotary clubs, churches and more,” Buchanan said. “The power behind those that donate is that we’re able to match every dollar through the State of Florida one to one, which doubles the money we are able to spend.”

Those dollars are stretched even further thanks to the Clay Education Foundation’s partnership with Office Depot, which gets them “extremely low pricing on school supplies.”

Buchanan said the district expects anywhere from 300 to 500 teachers at the Aug. 2 event. The foundation stocks the store and the school district and the superintendent’s office donated the Orange Park Junior High portable that’s used as the store’s physical space.

“There’s a misconception that classrooms just come with everything the teacher and students need to be successful that year and it couldn’t be further from the truth,” Buchanan said. “Teachers spend so much of their own money on school supplies with national averages of $500, but here in Clay County, we’ve found ours are spending closer to $800 of their own money each year on classroom supplies based on surveys.

“So, being able to have a store that gives away 100% free school supplies, most of which are completely new items purchased, to teachers in Clay County is so incredibly important so that our teachers feel supported and continue to choose each year to come back and teach our youth.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment