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The SEF teacher store is back

Teachers in Suffolk Public Schools have an opportunity to get supplies for the school year once again.

The Suffolk Education Foundation has opened its teacher store for another school year. Since 2018, the foundation has partnered with Suffolk Public Schools to let teachers “shop” for supplies they need in the classroom.

According to the Suffolk Education Foundation, teachers can sometimes spend $200 to $500 out of their own pockets on supplies for their students and classrooms. The store wants to help reduce that number as much as they can.

“It doesn’t take care of everything, but it helps,” said Patrick Belcher, president of the Suffolk Education Foundation.  “The feedback has been great from the teachers who have taken advantage.”

The store is open from 2:30 to 6 p.m. every Thursday between the months of August and May at John F. Kennedy Middle School, 2325 E. Washington St. Teachers receive 15 credits a month, which can equal between $15 and $20. Each teacher can receive about $150 worth of supplies each school year. According to Belcher, even though teachers can’t share or transfer credits, some come in to shop together to get the most out of their shopping.

The foundation also listens to what the teachers need to ensure they get the most-used and most-needed items. The store carries a variety of supplies, including binders, three-prong folders, markers, Ziploc bags, tissues, index cards, highlighters, small whiteboards and more.

“I’ve got to give credit to the teachers,” said Belcher. “We have all sorts of items that they could use for themselves, but many spend their credits on items for students who don’t have supplies.”

For those who would like to help the store, there are numerous ways to do so. On the website, folks can donate money for supplies and also find an Amazon wish list. Those who would like to hold a drive can do so and contact the foundation to make arrangements.

“It’s about a $20,000 commitment between the foundation and the school,” said Belcher. “All support we receive is always wonderful.”

To learn more, visit suffolkeducationfoundation.org/teacher-store.