Florida teachers get help from non-profit providing free supplies ahead of school year

Teachers are getting their classrooms ready for your child, and they’re finding a lot of the supplies are more expensive. Many are exploring options to check off the list and save money. 

One option is the non-profit "A Gift for Teaching." It looks like a regular store when you walk in - except there is no cash register. 

"We are a free school supply store for teachers," said Angela Garcia, VP of Development and Marketing, A Gift for Teaching, "Make sure they have the supplies they need and not spending money out of their pocket." 

Teachers with Orange County Public Schools and Osceola County Public Schools can visit locations to shop for pencils, paper, and book bags. The classroom supplies needed may squeeze a teacher's personal budget. 

"Unfortunately, the reality for teachers is that on average they're spending $500 - $1,000 dollars a year out of their own funds," said Garcia. 

The extra financial lift comes at a time when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the overall costs for Educational Books and Supplies are up 3.7% from June 2021 to June 2022.  


And a time when teachers, including some in Orange County, are fighting for a higher teacher pay raise to survive inflation. 

Volunteers spent Thursday organizing the warehouse stockroom and filling shelves at the non-profit's Orlando location. 

Teachers can start shopping next Tuesday, and they'll save hundreds on each trip. 

"Right now, the average is over $600 worth of supplies they're getting here when they come here and shop," said Garcia. 

Teachers who work in districts with high populations of students in need can shop once a month during the school year. Teachers in districts with smaller populations can send a representative to shop for the district. 

Since opening in 1998, the nonprofit has given out over $153 million worth of supplies to teachers. 

Some teachers who work outside the partnership districts are exploring other options to fill their classrooms - including platforms like Amazon Wish List and Facebook Groups. For example, one public group called, "Adopt a Teacher" on Facebook has over 2,000 members. Teachers from across the country post their supply list needs in hopes that people will donate.