This Spring, our school partners were forced to radically recalibrate the delivery of public education. While teachers, administrators, families and, of course, students figured out how to shift from the familiar classroom educational experience to individual student’s new home learning environments, Schoolhouse Supplies made a major change to the way we typically distribute free school supplies and launched the At-Home Learning Kit initiative.
“When schools closed, so did the Free Store for Teachers, which for twenty years has been the primary way we distribute free school supplies,” said Alice Forbes, Executive Director. Knowing that the economically-disadvantaged students we serve would need supplies at home to support remote instruction, Schoolhouse Supplies quickly pivoted.
Meeting virtually throughout each week, Schoolhouse Supplies staff connected with each other and with nonprofit and school partners to respond to the student school supply need in the most equitable and accessible way. In this spirit of collaboration Schoolhouse Supplies staff created at-home learning kits. Using product repurposed from the Free Store and the warehouse, we assembled and distributed over 20,000 kits before the end of April.
Thanks to the generosity of OnPoint Community Credit Union and individual donors, we were able to keep going. (Learn more about OnPoint’s $25,000 gift.) Schoolhouse Supplies surpassed the original goal and now approximately 23,000 kits are in the hands of local students and more on the way. OnPoint’s support has allowed Schoolhouse Supplies to purchase new product to keep addressing the need.
The kits are assembled in sanitary conditions, boxed and palletized, then quarantined. School districts pick-up completed kits. The Free Store for Teachers partner districts (David Douglas, Parkrose, Portland Public and Reynolds School Districts) and others received supply kits which they distributed to students and families picking-up learning packets, grab-and-go meals and during other school interactions.
Schoolhouse Supplies will continue to support current and future needs. If you are able to donate to support these efforts and help more kids, please click here.
Like all of us, we at Schoolhouse Supplies have had to be quick on our feet and adapt to changing times. Our relationships with our caring donors and sponsors, volunteers, and nonprofit and school partners allow us to stay strong and flexible. Thanks to our friends and partners we are able to continue working towards our mission in a time of crisis.