By LESLIE EIKLEBERRY
Even in the best of years, teachers often purchase their own supplies to make sure their classrooms are adequately prepared for the school year. Then along comes the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially adding to the need for out-of-pocket supplies.
A local woman wants to do something about that for the teachers in Saline County.
Penny Thompson recently started a Facebook page to connect Saline County teachers in need of classroom supplies with community members willing to help out.
The Support a Classroom - Saline Co. Kansas group currently has more than 650 members and is open to both Saline County teachers and community members who want to help them.
"I just saw this on the news the other night that a lady in Wichita started a Facebook group to help out teachers. I thought what a great idea so I just put it out there," Thomson explained.
Thompson said she comes from a family with many teachers.
"I know how much money people spend out of their own pockets," she said.
"It's about our teachers and providing them with the items they need to provide a safe environment for our kids," added Amanda Morris, who helps Thompson administer the group.
Both Thompson and Morris said they would like to see the group be an ongoing effort to help out teachers.
"That would be awesome and as teachers see things or have things come up during the middle of the year, people could reach out," Thompson said.
How it works
"We have suggested to teachers to use a wishlist like Amazon which does automatically update. Those are easiest for people to order and send," Morris explained. "Individuals can also coordinate with teachers or me to get items to them. I've asked teachers that have specific needs and individuals who are fulfilling those needs to post on the request so we know what happening."
Additionally, they are looking at options for people who want to help but don't do Facebook, including doing some sort of fundraising event, she added.
The joy of helping others
Thompson said she was excited to see the response thus far.
"I counted 45 people who have asked for support and there’s been multiple people who have reached out. Pretty exciting to know that the community is ready to help," she said.