HEF provides free school supplies to teachers in the neediest schools

Teachers shop at the Hillsborough Education Foundation’s teacher resource centre. (Photo courtesy of Hillsborough Education Foundation.)

Wednesday, August 10 is the first day for Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS). While some kids focus on what they’re going to wear or the excitement of seeing friends, others wonder if they’ll have a pen or paper to help them succeed in school. In HCPS, three out of five students come from economically disadvantaged families, and many cannot afford the basic supplies their children need when they return to class.

The Hillsborough Education Foundation (HEF) believes that a lack of resources should not be a barrier to student learning. That’s why, in the last school year, HEF provided more than $4.1 million in free supplies to students and teachers in schools most in need through the Teaching Tools Resource Center. It was a banner year for the distribution of supplies, which shows that the need to support the most vulnerable students is greater than ever, given the recent financial difficulties of many families.

The Educational Tools Resource Center, located at the HEF at 2306 N. Howard Ave. in Tampa, reopened on July 25 for the 2022-23 school year. Teachers at HCPS Title I schools can purchase basic school supplies and other necessary resources for their classrooms twice per semester at no cost to them. Last year, an average shopping trip was worth $418 in supplies, an annual savings of nearly $1,700.

Too often, dedicated teachers buy supplies out of their own pocket before leaving their students without. A 2022 Kids in Need survey found that one in three teachers spent more than $500 of their personal funds on materials for students in the 2021-22 school year.

The community can support students and teachers and help stock store shelves by hosting a supplies drive at their business or organization, purchasing from HEF’s Amazon Wishlist at www.amazon.com/gp/registry/ wishlist/30C9IAR0FOBXO or by donating to HEF. can buy the most needed supplies. Learn more about ways to get involved at https://ducationfoundation.com/donateschoolsupplies.

The Hillsborough Education Foundation was established in 1987 as a nonprofit organization focused on strengthening public education by supporting teachers and empowering students to achieve academic and personal success. Together with community partners, HEF strategically invests in initiatives that impact educational quality, increase graduation rates, and strengthen equity in education, building a thriving workforce of tomorrow and the lasting prosperity of Tampa Bay.

Learn more at https://educationfoundation.com/.

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