TAMPA, Fla. -- The holidays are a time for giving, but some teachers in the Tampa Bay area are struggling to provide the supplies their students need to achieve.
To close the supply gap, Brittany Morgan of Sheehy Elementary in Tampa started a fundraising drive on DonorsChoose.org, which is a crowdfunding site specifically created to help teachers get materials for their classrooms.
“A lot of our kids, they are eager to come to school, and the parents would like to supply them with what they need, but they just don’t have the means to,” she said.
Nearly 95 percent of students at her school come from homes that earn less than $15,000 a year. Morgan’s page on DonorsChoose.org asks for basic supplies, including pencils, index cards and notebooks, as well as a few tablets to make sure students have the same resources as their more affluent peers in other schools.
“It’s very important that I see them succeed, because these students, they are our future, and if they don’t have what they need, it not only impacts them academically every day, it also makes them feel ‘lesser,’" she said. “Self-esteem is big here. We have to build them up.
"Not only with what they need academically but all their other needs.”
Morgan’s fundraising effort for her 5th-grade classroom comes at a particularly sensitive time for teachers in Hillsborough County. The teachers’ union is currently at an impasse with the district over their contracts. Thousands of teachers were promised $4,000 raises that the district says it no longer afford.
All donations made on DonorsChoose.org are tax deductible and go straight toward supplies. It works by allowing teachers to create itemized wish lists. Projects are fulfilled only if enough donations are raised to cover the full cost.
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