TAMPA, Fla. — For more than 100,000 students in Hillsborough County this year, having basic supplies like pencils or crayons on the first day of school won't be a given.
That's why the Hillsborough Education Foundation (HEF) is such a crucial resource for bay area public school teachers and financially vulnerable students.
Thanks in great part to its Teaching Tools Resource Center (think a free Staples store), HEF distributed $2.7 million in supplies last year to Title 1 schools.
That's huge for teachers, who routinely spend hundreds of dollars of their own money each school year to bridge the supplies gap for students in needs.
"When you allow a teacher at a Title 1 school to start the year knowing that all their students have the supplies to succeed, that's one less thing they have to worry about," says Michael McCollum, HEF's chief advancement officer.
But because of the pandemic, this year will be trickier for HEF.
The Tampa nonprofit normally relies on donations and in-person supply drives hosted by businesses and residents, all of which were hampered by quarantines, social distance, and more.
The Foundation is behind, but still needs to provide for the same of amount of students at Title 1 schools. So it's reaching out to community businesses and residents for a boost.
Through online and live fundraising drives, both of which are back in action this year, HEF plans to rebound in a big way this year.
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