Annual Back to School Supply Drive kicks off
The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools is collecting items for its annual Back to School Supply Drive, which helps stock the Education Resource Center, open to educators of Lee County Public Schools.
“Our teachers do an excellent job of engaging our students in learning and preparing them for their futures as productive citizens, however, if a student does not have the tools necessary to succeed, then learning at the highest level cannot take place,” President and CEO of The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools Marshall T. Bower said in a prepared statement. “With 75 percent of our students qualifying for free, or reduced lunch, the need is very high in our school district and this supply drive helps to ensure that all students come to school prepared to learn.”
Foundation for Lee County Public Schools Director of Marketing and Development Brittany Carroll said the Back to School Supply Drive has been held since the opening of the Education Resource Center, which is now in its 30th year.
The collection of supplies, though, initially began when the foundation was established 33 years ago.
“We have a center where they can ‘shop,'” she said of the center. “It’s like a Target. They can come in and shop for no cost.”
This year, the drive began Tuesday, June 25, and will run through Saturday, July 20, at numerous locations throughout Lee County. The suggested donations include notebook paper, No. 2 pencils, crayons, glue sticks, rulers, notebooks, three-ring binders, scissors and backpacks.
“This really helps them to kick start the new year and allows them to spend money on other things they might need for the classroom,” Carroll said of the educators.
School supplies may be dropped off at any of the following participating locations: Aubuchon Homes (Cape Coral); Miloff Aubuchon Realty Group (Cape Coral & Fort Myers); B&I Contractors; Busey Bank (Fort Myers & Cape Coral); Chico’s FAS; CLA Assurance; Dryzone, Inc.; Edison National Bank/Bank of the Islands; Estero Chamber of Commerce; First Bank (Fort Myers Branch); Florida Title One, LLC; Fort Myers Miracle (Office during Business Hours & Team Store on Game Days); Fred’s Award World; Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa; Lee County Public Education Center; Lehigh Chamber of Commerce; Markham, Norton, Mosteller, Wright & Co., P.A.; Millennial Brewing; McGriff Insurance Services; Nova Southeastern University (Fort Myers Campus); Studio Plus Architects and Sunrise Rotary of Fort Myers.
Carroll said they are still seeking participants for drop off locations. Those interested can contact her at (239) 337-0433, or Brittany@LeeSchoolFoundation.org.
“The more people, the more supplies,”she said.
The number of businesses participating in the drive is another new record this year.
“We are trying to get more and more people involved. Anyone in Southwest Florida can start participating,” Carroll said.
Although the drive is held before the school year starts, the foundation collects supplies all year round. The drive is to promote the new school year and to reiterate the need in the Lee County School District.
The Education Resource Center is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays for Lee County educators and by appointment if the time slot does not work for them.
“We try to make it accessible to everybody,” Carroll said.
In addition, if a teacher shares a student they have in need, she said they make accommodations for them.
“That is of huge importance to us, too. If students have a need, the educator will let us know and we will make sure that they get it,” she said. “We have a really good business community and business partners. They really help us out through this process and we are really thankful.”
The Resource Center provides supplies for more than 1,000 teachers each year, averaging about 100 per month.
“I have been at the foundation for a year and a half now. This really stood out to me. Not many counties have this opportunity to walk into the resource center and take what they need,” Carroll said.