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Donations allow Hillsborough County teachers to shop for free school supplies

The Hillsborough Education Foundation opened its "Teaching Tools Resource Center."
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Posted at 9:45 PM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 23:32:20-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Hillsborough County students return back to school in less than 2 weeks on August 10.

This week, The Hillsborough Education Foundation opened its "Teaching Tools Resource Center" in Tampa. More than 100 teachers shopped for free supplies each day this week.

The center has donated school supplies including backpacks, notebooks, pencils, and other school supplies.

Teachers at schools with the greatest need may shop for the free supplies.

Marline Garcia teaches at Hillsborough High School. She shopped for free school supplies on Thursday. She said these donated supplies are a huge help.

"It helps them stay on track in their classes just being able to supply what they need at the moment. It's just really, really good," said Marline Garcia, a teacher at Hillsborough High School.

"Just the hand sanitizer and the pencils alone, I’m really thrilled with...I can keep that at the front of the class, keep these ready to go," said Erika Wachtel, a teacher at Williams Middle Magnet.

Last school year, Hillsborough Education Foundation provided more than $4.1 million in free supplies to students and teachers at the highest needs schools.

"Every time a teacher comes to our store, they get a little over $400 worth of school supplies. They can come multiple times a year and that’s savings of almost $1,700," said Anna Corman with the Hillsborough Education Foundation.

The National Retail Federation estimates that the average household will spend $864 on school supplies in 2022.

The foundation said not all families can afford that expense.

"I think going into this school year, we’re definitely seeing a higher need than we did at the beginning of last school year. There’s probably a variety of factors there," said Corman.

Teachers in HCPS Title 1 schools may shop for the supplies by registering and making an appointment. The store is open on select days including Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. On average, it takes teachers about 45 minutes to shop.

To see the store's full schedule and to sign-up visit Hillsborough Education Foundation.

All supplies at the "Teaching Tools Resource Center" are donated. To learn more on how to donate visit here.