The below post was written by Lauren Johnson, Director of Communications at Classroom Central.
As the daughter of a retired teacher, I absolutely love working at Classroom Central. It is very rewarding to see both the students and teachers benefit from the free school supplies we provide.
One of my favorite programs is our Mobile Free Store distributions, which began in 2014. Thanks to a generous donation for a box truck from US Airways (now American Airlines), we started visiting the five districts we serve outside of Charlotte-Mecklenburg on a quarterly basis bringing supplies to THEM!
Teachers are busy and many have challenges getting to our Free Store, whether it be after school responsibilities, extreme traffic or personal commitments. Out of this feedback, the Mobile Free Store was born. The teachers are so grateful for the supplies coming to their district. It is personally fulfilling to see how excited the teachers get to receive the product.
There are a few ways that the Mobile Free Store comes to life. The most common is via a pre-packaged box of supplies. Once a year, we received large donations of pre-packed boxes from Yoobi & Target. They are perfect as they contain entire class sets of 30. During the other times of the year, our awesome volunteers pack most-needed supplies into boxes at our Wilkinson Boulevard facility. We advertise the event in each district via an event signup to qualifying teachers (those who teach in high-poverty schools). Then, we load up our truck to capacity, 160 boxes, and come to them! Teachers may even designate a proxy to pick up for them.
Recently, we have piloted "Pop Up Shops" sponsored by local businesses. This Spring, Allen Tate hosted one in Gaston County and Domtar Paper sponsored another in York County. The pop up shop style allows local companies to engage with educators and is a very rewarding team-building event.
Take a look at a few recent videos from our Mobile Free Store distribution events:
If you have interest in sponsoring a Mobile Free Store distribution, please email Beth Cupp, Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.