Most parents of school age children have seen requests from teachers for supplies or money. My daughter’s teacher has a classroom wish list for a variety of supplies that she would probably either do without or buy with her own money. I am sure that is repeated in classrooms around the country. Today’s profile is about an organization trying to make a difference for teachers.
Companies to Classrooms’ mission is to support students and teachers by providing educational supplies free of charge through the operation of a store staffed by volunteers and stocked with recycled or excess supplies and inventories donated by local businesses.
The organization began when Cary Weatherby came up with the idea of recycling office surplus into supplies for teachers and schools in the fall of 2003. After visiting similar operations across the country, Cary set up a 501(c)3 corporation and opened Companies to Classrooms in March 2006.
In 2010, Companies to Classrooms reached an impressive milestone of $1,000,000 worth of product recycled into local schools and celebrated their 10,000th teacher visit.
Companies to Classrooms collects donations and operates a teacher “free store” in a warehouse facility in Bloomington, Minnesota. They currently serve the Bloomington, Richfield, and Shakopee public schools which means that teachers and staff from these districts can come and “shop” in their “free store”. According to founder and executive director, Cary Weatherby, “Our goal is to serve every teacher in the metro area but until we have the financial donations to make this possible, we have to limit our service area.”
Weatherby explains that the organization is a benefit to everyone involved. “With companies now more concerned with being ‘green’ and not throwing away usable resources, Companies to Classrooms is a win-win solution. Businesses support education in their communities while disposing of items they no longer need. On the other hand, school budgets are being stretched tighter and tighter, and teachers have been reaching into their own pockets for supplies for their classrooms. Plus, in this economy, more and more students arrive in classrooms without the proper supplies. Again, teachers have to find the supplies for these students to be able to participate in class. Companies to Classrooms is the perfect solution to eliminate corporate waste while helping all students participate in the education they deserve.”
So, how can you help?
- All services are provided with volunteer help. Currently the biggest need is for individuals who would be willing to come on a regular basis to help at the front desk with check-in and check-out of teachers Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 2:30PM to 5:30PM.
- Donations are accepted Monday through Friday from 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM.
- Individual volunteers are welcome to sign up to help with stocking, sorting and repackaging donations.
- Group projects are available but must be set up in advance.
- You can also check the donate page on the organization’s website for information about making donations of new and used supplies or even a financial donation.