Educator Warehouse Provides Needed Supplies for Teachers
After being closed for the summer, the Educator Warehouse is re-opening for the school year. Special shopping dates for teachers are:
Thursday, Aug. 15 – 3 to 8 p.m., new teachers only
Friday, Aug. 16 – 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., new and veteran teachers
Saturday, Aug. 17 – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., new and veteran teachers
Online shopping will be available once regular hours resume on Aug. 22. Regular hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. (regular school days only) and Saturdays (first and third only) from 9 to 11 a.m.
To register to shop – and for more information – go to www.forsythedpartnership.org/programs/educator-warehouse/
The warehouse is located on the grounds of Diggs-Latham Elementary School at 986 Hutton St. In the days leading up to the special shopping dates, people can drop off donations at the warehouse from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Donations will also be accepted at special Stuff the Bus Days scheduled at the warehouse and at Belk in Hanes Mall.
The warehouse’s Stuff the Bus event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday Aug. 16 and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday Aug. 17. At Belk, donations are already being accepted, and, on Sunday Aug. 18, a bus will be in the parking lot outside the store from 1 to 6 p.m. That same day, the store is having its second Educator Appreciation Event.
For more pictures, go to Your Permanent Record.
By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
AUGUST 24, 2019 – The Educator Warehouse offers teachers the opportunity to pick up supplies for students and for their classrooms that they might otherwise have to pay for themselves.
“We know that a lot of teachers spend a lot of money out-of-pocket, and we want to do as much as we can to lighten that load,” said Kendra Hoyle, the Manager of the Educator Warehouse.
The warehouse does that by offering – at no cost to teachers – notebooks, pencils, and many more basics, along with books and some fun items.
“We have different and unusual things where the teachers can use their imagination,” said Karel Chandler, the Chair of the warehouse’s Advisory Committee.
On a recent visit, those unusual items included two disco balls.
And JOANN Fabric and Crafts regularly donates seasonal items that can be used to decorate a classroom for holidays.
In supporting teachers, the warehouse also supports students, Chandler said.
“My purpose is for every child to have the necessary school supplies to start the day every day of the year,” she said.
On Thursday Aug. 15, the warehouse opens for the year with a special shopping day for new teachers. Special shopping days for both new and veteran teachers follow on Aug. 16 and 17.
“We are basically trying to help teachers get ready for the new year,” Hoyle said.
Regular shopping days start Aug. 22.
The warehouse is a collaboration of the Forsyth Educator Partnership, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Council of PTAs, and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
This is the ninth school year for the warehouse. During the 2018-19 school year, 692 teachers make 1,182 visits to the warehouse.
Hoyle hopes that more teacher come this year, not only at the beginning of the school year but throughout the year. Teachers are eligible to come once per quarter.
Hoyle also hopes that more middle and high school teachers begin using the warehouse. As it is, most of the teachers who come to the warehouse are elementary school teachers. The warehouse has much that can be of assistance to teachers in middle and high school, Hoyle said.
For instance, books on hand include ones that students are assigned to read. So teachers could pick up books to give or loan to students who might otherwise have difficulty obtaining a copy.
Some of the books come through the support of the Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston-Salem. Each year, the Shepherd’s Center holds a sale in May, and, at the end of the sale, people from the warehouse are invited to come and pick out books.
Friends of the Library groups throughout the Forsyth County Public Library system also donate books.
So do retiring teachers and families passing on books they no longer need.
All of that means that the Educator Warehouse has many books that teachers may find useful.
“We are definitely a great source for a classroom library,” Hoyle said.
As for classroom supplies, the warehouse not only has such school supplies as pencils, notebook paper, glue sticks, crayons, and markers that teachers can give to students who can’t afford them, it also has such classroom necessities as hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.
And it has materials to decorate bulletin boards, and items that can be given to students as prizes.
People throughout the community are invited to donate items.
One way to do that is through two Stuff the Bus events coming up. One will be at the Belk store in Hanes Mall and the other will be at the Educator Warehouse.
At Belk, a bus will be in the parking lot outside the store from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday Aug. 18 in conjunction with the store’s Educator Appreciation Event. The store is already acceding donations, and donations will be accepted through Aug. 20.
The warehouse is on the grounds of Diggs-Latham Elementary School. Its Stuff the Bus event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday Aug. 16 and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday Aug. 17.
For those wishing to donate, especially needed supplies include glue sticks, hand sanitizers and facial tissues. Other items on the wish list include wooden pencils, notebook paper, crayons, composition books, erasers, mechanical pencils, paper clips.
The warehouse cannot accept such outdated items as cassettes and VHS tapes and such outdated equipment as overhead projectors.
Nor can it accept electronics, clothing or furniture, with the exception of some bookcases. Those wanting to donate a bookcase should check first with the people at the warehouse.
When teachers come to the warehouse, they will find that it is divided into rooms that focus on particular areas of the curriculum. In the Science Room is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) corner where teachers can pick up – or create – STEM kits that have supplies students might use in STEM projects.
A kit might include such items as straws, popsicle sticks, toothpicks, pipe cleaners, Q-tips, cotton balls, and Play-Doh. Teachers will be able to put items they want in a container and points will be charged for the container rather for the individual items.
Items donated to the warehouse are assigned points based on what a new item would sell for in an office supply store or what a used item might sell for in a thrift store.
Each quarter, teachers are assigned 25 points to spend. Those who bring their own shopping bags receive an extra 2 points. Teachers can also earn extra points by volunteering at the warehouse.
Depending on what teachers choose, they may be able to “buy” hundreds of dollars worth of materials during the course of the school year.
The warehouse is supported by many volunteers.
About 12 adults, some of them retired educators, regularly volunteer at the warehouse. Some organizations also help out in groups. For instance, during the summer, volunteers from First Baptist Church on Highland Avenue come over to sort and arrange donations for the coming year.
A number of students also serve as volunteers. Some are college students. Each year, a group from Salem College comes in January.
Some volunteers are high school students participating in the Crosby Scholars program who earn service hours by volunteering at the warehouse.
High school students who simply want to volunteer are welcome as well. During the 2018-19 school year, about 100 high school students volunteered at one time or another.
The warehouse receives substantial support from individuals, businesses and members of the community.
Some of the supplies at the warehouse come from teachers. Some come from retiring teachers. Others are useful materials that active teachers no longer need. Each year, the warehouse sends out boxes to schools to be filled with supplies that teachers no longer need.
“A huge ‘thank you’ to all of our teachers who have donated their gently used supplies and to our retired teachers,” Chandler said.
School system employees based in the Central Office can also drop items in donation boxes are set up in the school system’s Administrative Building and Education Building.
“I thank the school system,” Chandler said.
People in the community support the warehouse in a variety of ways.
Several businesses put out bins for people to leave donations.
At the moment, those include Tucker Orthodontics at 5350 Robinhood Village Dr. and Monroe Staffing Services at 2520 Somerset Center Dr. Businesses interested in putting out a collection bin should email Hoyle at Educator Warehouse
Other businesses regularly donate to the warehouse.
For instance, the members of Forsyth County Chapter of Professional Women in Building both collect supplies and donate money.
The Publix store on Miller Street has held a supply drive every year since the store opened in 2016. It has continued to do so each year since. The store sets up a display where people can choose tags that indicate whether they want to buy $5 worth of supplies for an elementary school, $10 worth of supplies for a middle school or $15 worth of supplies for a high school.
When customers present their tags to the cashier as they are checking out, the amount is added to their bills. In September, Publix will bring school supplies to the warehouse worth the total donated.
Last year, Publix brought five pallets of supplies, Chandler said.
Members of many other businesses and organizations also support the warehouse.
Such businesses as Inmar have school supply drives, and Forsyth Woman/Forsyth Family magazines invite people to bring supplies to events sponsored by the magazines.
JOANN Fabric and Crafts donates items it is no longer selling, and, at the end of the Shepherd’s Center annual book sale, people from the warehouse are invited to come and pick out children’s books.
Office Depot OfficeMax donates office supplies.
The warehouse also supports other organizations by donating books that teachers don’t take during the course of a school year.
The warehouse is incorporated as a nonprofit organization, and checks can be made out to Educator Warehouse and sent to Educator Warehouse, P.O. Box 141, Winston-Salem, NC 27102.
At one time, only full-time teachers in public schools in Forsyth County were eligible to use the warehouse. Since the 2018-19 school year, teachers from five public charter schools in Forsyth County will be eligible to shop at the warehouse.
Before shopping, teachers are asked to register online and to make an appointment at least one day in advance. To register, go to Forsyth Educator Partnership.
Teachers can also order online and pick up their order at the warehouse within two weeks. Teachers who don’t spend all 25 points online have the option of making an appointment and spending the rest of their points when they pick up the order.
The businesses and organizations supporting the Educator Warehouse through donations of money and/or items include:
Forsyth County chapter of Professional Women in Building
Forsyth Woman/Forsyth Family magazines
JOANN Fabric and Crafts
Leonard Ryden Burr Real Estate
Office Depot OfficeMax
Carson-Delossa Publishing Group
Winston-Salem Open tennis tournament
The Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston-Salem