Companies to Classrooms: Free Supplies for Local Teachers
Posted at: 09/10/2013 9:13 PM
| Updated at: 09/10/2013 10:47 PM
By: Travis Dill
Not every family can afford the long list of supplies students need for school. Teachers often pick up the slack, and a non-profit in Duluth hopes local businesses can help.
School is back in session, and Companies to Classrooms opened the warehouse doors on Tuesday for teachers in desperate need of supplies.
Companies to Classrooms, a Duluth non-profit, receives donations of unused office supplies from local businesses and then teachers grab them up free of charge according to co-founder Mary Beth Kjolhaug.
"It's such a great system. The people who are donating goods are cleaning out their back offices or giving us their office chairs if their having a renovation going on. They don't want the goods anymore so they are pleased to find a place to put them, and the teachers are just giddy,” Kjolhaug said.
The non-profit opened the warehouse in December allowing Duluth teachers free reign on everything from pens and pencils to office chairs and file cabinets. Now Companies to Classrooms has enough supplies they're open to teachers from Hermantown, Proctor and Superior.
It's become a hit with Ann Ek and her fellow educators.
“We call it the Free Store, 'You going to the Free Store? Oh, yeah my friend and I are going on Thursday,'” Ek said.
Teachers get one limited shopping trip a month in the warehouse, but Ek said it's a big help.
“It's all this stuff that I would spend money on, and there's just not much room in the budget anymore,” Ek said. “The year before last I spent about $1,300 of my own money so I probably saved $700-$800.”
She said those items are going to help students that can't afford everyday supplies.
The Companies to Classrooms warehouse is located on Superior Street near 23rd Avenue West. Kjolhaug said teachers can shop Tuesday through Thursday from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Hundreds of teachers have visited since it opened in December, and the non-profit has given away over $18,000 in supplies.
Kjolhaug said Companies to Classrooms is always accepting donations from local businesses and individuals.