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Donations to Free Teacher Market prevents educators from going into their pockets for supplies

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Posted at 7:00 PM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 19:14:07-04

BARTOW, Fla.  — An invaluable resource is available to Polk County teachers to erase the need in classrooms.

While school is out for the summer, supplies are being collected. They’ll be going inside the Free Teacher Market, available to teachers across Polk County.

“Unfortunately, schools cannot meet all needs, financially for teachers and they might need extra crayons, extra note cards, and we are able to fill some of those gaps,” said Chantel Lemaster with Polk Education Foundation.

Polk Education Foundation said each year, teachers dip into their own wallet to buy things like notebooks, tissues and pencils for their students.

“On average a teacher will spend $500 out of their own pocket every year on school supplies for their classroom,” Lemaster said.

Teachers are invited to shop at the Free Teacher Market four times a year. Polk Education Foundation is always accepting donations of new school supplies and gently used office items. They would especially like retired teachers to donate because they have the best supplies.

“There are games that are no longer reproduced but an older teacher who’s retired will donate it to us. A new teacher comes in and they see it and they’re like ‘this is perfect,’ for a certain thing that they have in their curriculum for that year,” Lemaster said.

Last year 2,500 educators shopped at the Free Teacher Market.

“Our first reopening is always with brand new teachers with the school district, giving them the first opportunity to grab the new good stuff,” said Lemaster.

Find out how you can donate here.