NewsHillsborough County


Nearly 8,000 people join 'Adopt a Hillsborough Teacher' group to buy supplies for local educators

Teachers spend hundreds of own dollars on students
Posted at 5:09 AM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-05 07:29:04-04

VALRICO, Fla. — Rebecca McDonagh spends "a good chunk" of her paycheck on keeping her classroom stocked with supplies at Cimino Elementary in Valrico.

"We're at the Dollar Tree a lot, we're at Target a lot," she says.

She's not alone. The average teacher spends about $500 a year in pencils, tissues, wipes and more, according to national data.

And this year could be the most expensive yet for McDonagh.

School in the time of coronavirus will demand more individual supplies; kids can't even share pencils anymore.

Teachers of younger students will also need "fun incentives" for proper mask-wearing and staying safe.

So it's a good thing McDonagh has almost 8,000 guardian angels watching over her.

She's been "adopted" by the "Adopt a Hillsborough Teacher" Facebook page, a collective of good-hearted people who have purchased classroom supplies for more than 250 local teachers.

In a short amount of time, the Facebook group has become a phenomenon, driven by the empathetic desire to comfort teachers as they navigate one of the most unpredictable back-to-schools in history.

"I'm feeling for them," says Brooke Elkins, a former educator and one of the leaders of the Facebook group. "I know there are so many unknowns as they start this school year."

The "adoption" group orchestrates the pairings of teachers, who create Amazon wishlists, and benefactors.

It's been a blessing for teachers.

Just the other day, McDonagh came home to find her front porch loaded with packages.

"It's like Christmas in August," she smiles.