Tawanda Outlaw and Kristy Bland vividly remember walking into three classrooms across Sampson County last year to deliver school supplies, and seeing the excitement on the faces of the young students.
Both Outlaw and Bland say they are looking forward to seeing those same reactions this year, when they get the opportunity to deliver school supplies collected as part of the Teacher School Supply Drive sponsored by the Center for Health and Wellness.
Every year, teachers across Sampson County are faced with the same challenge — students aren’t prepared to learn, because they are financially unable to buy the supplies that are needed. From paper and pencils to notebooks and folders, Outlaw, program manager at the Center for Health and Wellness, knows teachers are left with reaching into their own pockets and purchasing some of the supplies.
For that reason, Outlaw and the employees of the hospital and wellness center, along with the support of the community, will once again be working over the next two weeks to collect supplies to be given to three teachers from across the county that can be used in their classrooms.
“We wanted to do something that would support our teachers who do so much for the community,” Outlaw explained.
The Teacher School Supply Drive is a chance for the community to not only reward the teachers, but provide much needed supplies to students throughout Sampson County, Clinton City and local private schools.
“There are many days that our teachers leave, felling thankless,” Outlaw said. “Our hope is that some teachers can start the year off with a little gratitude.”
Through Sept. 20, the community is asked to bring in school supplies to one of three drop-off locations. While there, nominate your favorite teacher or teacher’s assistant from either Clinton City Schools, Sampson County Schools or a local private school. The teacher from each district who receives the most nominations will be rewarded with supplies collected through donations, as well as a one-year membership to the wellness center.
Drop-off locations are the main lobby of the hospital, cafeteria at the hospital and the wellness center lobby area. Of course, Outlaw said, there is no limit on the amount of items you can bring in for donation, and there isn’t a limit on the number of nominations you submit.
Outlaw said they are asking for each nomination to include the name, school and grade of the teacher or teacher’s assistant being nominated.
“We are trying to do our part to help the teachers,” Outlaw said. “The donations are a way the community can do their part to help, too.”
Last year’s recipients were Shannon Jones of Union Elementary, Patricia Lewis of Sunset Avenue and Pam Matthews from Mintz Christian Academy.
Suggested items include pencils, erasers, glue sticks, dry erase markers, copy paper, construction paper, scissors, tissues, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, sticky notes, note cards, crayons, colored pencils, spiral notebooks, notebook paper, highlighters, pens and active items such as balls, jump ropes and Frisbees.
Donations and nominations can be made during regular business hours. The wellness center is open from 5 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; from 5 a.m. – 8 p.m. Friday; from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday; and from 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
“I think back to the days I was in school, and how teachers had to supply items for their students,” Outlaw said. “I wish we could give every teacher supplies, but I’m glad we will be able to help some.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.