Supplies from Project Teacher are available to any teacher in the greater Wichita area. For details on store hours, head to the link in the “related links” section in the right-hand panel on this story.
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As school districts across Kansas face budget cuts, a program is hoping to lighten the financial load to teachers.
Project Teacher is a non-profit organization that helps give free school supplies to educators. On average, school supplies can cost teachers anywhere from $1, 000 to $1, 500. Some fear that budget cuts could fuel that cost.
COMPETING FOR NEW GRANT
Now, the program is looking for help to get access to a grant through State Farm. The non-profit has made it as a top-200 finalist for a $25, 000 grant, said Terry Johnson, director of Project Teacher.
Project Teacher is a network affiliate with the Kids in Need Foundation. It’s one of 36 free school supply stores nationwide. The grant money would be used to pay for shipments of about $500, 000 in free school supplies for teachers.
“Really opening our doors more often for teachers to come in and get supplies for their classroom, ” Johnson said. “So teachers can come in, they can shop for free No strings attached and they're able to come in and get supplies for their kids for teaching resources and even teaching resources for their classroom.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Johnson would like the community to help Project Teacher win the grant contest. The projects with the most online votes will the grant money. The top 40 competitors out of the 200 finalists will win money.
People can log in through their Facebook accounts to vote. Each person can submit 10 votes to the cause that they support – all 10 votes can go to one cause. We’ve attached a link to the voting page on the “Related links” panel on the right side of the page.
SUCCESS AFTER KAKE STORY
In January, the program started an online fundraiser to and collected about $2, 100 to pay for a freight truck of free supplies. Now the program’s facility, located at Central and Tyler, is packed with more than $150, 000 in notebooks, pens, books, backpacks, duct tape and other essentials. KAKE News shared a story on air, and Johnson credits that story to aiding the campaign.
“It definitely helped to keep our shelves stocked throughout the next school year and even further beyond the next school year as well, ” he said. “Teachers come in, especially with different budget cuts the schools are having to make. They're able to come in and get resources that they would be spending hundreds of dollars on for absolutely free.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
In addition to giving your online votes to Project Teacher’s grant competition, they can use two forms of help throughout the year.
1. Donate money. The organization is able to get freight trucks full of school supplies from various vendors. However, the program has to pay for the shipment for those items. This can cost the program a couple thousand dollars for one shipment, but the supplies they get can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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