Drives, giveaways supply love

Published 9:22 pm Thursday, August 30, 2018

Teachers shouldn’t have to spend their own money on materials for their classes and school supplies for students who can’t afford it — and a couple of recent stories in the Suffolk News-Herald illustrate that the community is catching on to how burdened teachers are and how they can help.

Last week, the new Teacher Supply Store at the former Driver Elementary School debuted thanks to the vision of the Suffolk Education Foundation with the partnership of Suffolk Public Schools and numerous other organizations that have made large donations and will be donating and volunteering in the future.

The Virginia Department of Transportation donated a load of office supplies like binders, staplers and clipboards after moving to their new offices in North Suffolk.

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Old Dominion University’s Darden College of Education also donated about 1,000 new and gently used children’s and young adult books at a variety of reading levels — an estimated retail value of $15,000.

There’s also a room that will be filled with brand-new office supplies and other classroom items.

Teachers can choose items from the rooms based on a monthly points system. The store will be open from 2:30 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, and each teacher can visit once a month.

Donations and volunteers are needed, and more information can be found at or by contacting Bethanne Bradshaw at 925-6752 or

A local church also assisted elementary teachers at Florence Bowser and Nansemond Parkway by collecting 3,567 individual items donated by roughly 75 church members. That’s an average of almost 48 items that each church member donated.

Teachers were invited to the event for the second year in a row to choose up to 40 items at no cost. As if that weren’t enough, the teachers were also treated to refreshments and received a special gift before they left.

Church missions committee chairperson Betty Barnes said the church has treasured doing the drive and giveaway both years.

“It’s a church-wide service project to try and show care and love to our schools that are right in our community,” she said.

In addition to these two recent stories, lots of other donations and drives big and small this summer have helped collect supplies and materials to ease the burden, both on teachers and on low-income families, for purchasing needed items.

We appreciate the excellent work of all those who coordinated these efforts and wish all the students and teachers a successful school year.