HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- We may be enjoying July but...school is coming. Teachers know it, and so does Free 2 Teach. Their doors have reopened for a seventh year helping to stock classrooms at no cost and give students the education they deserve.
While most minds are on vacation and lazy summer days, Madison County school teachers and those across north Alabama are already back to work.
"Teachers always need Expo markers, we go through these like crazy so I got some of those," said Nicole Thompson, a 4th-grade teacher at Mountain Gap P-8. "We make messes a lot so we need paper towels."
"There is a ton of stuff, a ton of variety. There's something for everybody, every teacher," said Tina Robinson, a 2nd-grade teacher at Farley Elementary.
Free 2 Teach is once again opening their doors to Madison County educators to help provide much-needed supplies at no cost.
"We're hoping to touch as many teachers as we can, at the beginning as they are getting their room prepared, to try and keep them from spending too much out of pocket," Eula Battle, Co-Founder, Executive Director
Last year the organization gave away $1.2 million in supplies, 31 times more than when they began seven years ago.
"I'm a single mother with a son, so you know as a teacher, it helps me save money and to help those kids who are without," explained Thompson.
Years of volunteering has taught 17-year-old student Sydney Williams the importance of a well-stocked classroom. "Everyone has their stuff come beginning of the year but come January, 'um...can I have a pencil? Do you have any paper Ms. Whoever?'"
Those supplies enrich their students' learning experience. "The crafts. You know that's not just fun and games. Crafts teach a lot of dexterity, fine motor, and that's expensive," Amy Alsup, Sparkman High School Special Education Teacher.
They also give them the tools to have one. "Every child deserves to learn with dignity," said Battle.
"People in the community just really value and understand the students. Cuz that's who all of this is for, for the kids," said Williams.
Free 2 Teach hopes to expand eventually and would need significant community support across the counties to do so.
You can learn more about volunteering or how to get supplies on their website.