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For the 15th Year, the Public School Foundation and East Rotary Provide School Supplies to Teachers

For 15 years, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation (PSF) and East Chapel Hill Rotary Club have partnered to kick off the school year by hosting a supply store with much needed school supplies for teachers. The past two years have brought many challenges with the event reconfigured as COVID-safe. But on the morning of August 19, a team of PSF and Rotary members and community volunteers carried out the annual event of giving school supplies to grateful teachers across the district.

volunteer at PSF storeMiddle and high school teachers, as well as all novice teachers, received school supplies and a gift card. Not only that, but school social workers received brand new backpacks filled with supplies to distribute to students in financial need. In all, more than $40,000 of supplies were distributed to help cover the cost of classroom supplies, which teachers often purchase with their own money. Daye Jones of Triangle Office Supply generously assisted with purchasing the supplies at a discount again this year.

“Though a big shopping event was not possible this year, we were able to connect personally with the teachers by partnering with PTSAs to organize an in-school distribution event at each middle and high school, made a little sweeter with chocolate chip cookies!” said PSF Executive Director, Madeline Blobe. “We were also able to deliver Educators’ Extra Credit Cards which give local businesses the opportunity to support teachers with discounts.” 

Allison Worthy has been at the center of planning and hosting the student supply store since it began. She joined the PSF Board in 2001 and served as its president for two years. Although her own children have long since graduated, her commitment to PSF runs deep. “One of the most exciting things about this project is how we have been able to adapt and reimagine how we can provide teachers with supplies each year,” Worthy said. “The support and enthusiasm from our longtime partner, the East Chapel Hill Rotary Club, is tremendous. We have come so far from the first store opening in 2008 when we served 130 teachers. Over the past 15 years, we have provided 6,615 teachers with supplies valued at $453,000. When I served on the board of the Public School Foundation, one of our goals was mobilizing community support for the public schools. This project is a great example of how the community has come together to support our teachers and schools.”

PSF and Rotary volunteers gathered at Participate Learning to fill 650 bright blue bags, before they were loaded into the cars of more volunteers and driven to all of the CHCCS middle and high schools. At each school, the PTSA President awaited the delivery and then helped with the distribution to teachers.

Former PSF President and current East Chapel Hill High School PTSA President May Martin Bryan joined forces with her father, D.G. Martin, in the sunny commons area. They over saw the tables with snacks and drinks, as well as the bags of supplies, as the line of teachers snaked across the large room.

Martins at East supply store“My dad and I had such fun!” Bryan said. “We were so grateful to be able to greet teachers in person and with big smiles (behind masks), to distribute supplies, gift cards, and refreshments. I credit my parents with showing me the importance of public education and of showing educators how much they mean to us. So it was a real honor to be with my dad at East.”

“We are grateful for the unwavering financial support of East Chapel Hill Rotary members,” said Blobe. “Their commitment to this event and public education remains steadfast. I am grateful to Allison Worthy, Dena Thomason, and Tim Smith who chaired this event. They remained true to the mission, flexible, creative, and calm!”

The traditional Teacher Supply Store is only one of numerous major events organized by the PSF each year. Please consider a donation to the Foundation for its essential fundraising to support our teachers and students!

DG at East supply store