MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Lory Schieler has been a teacher for nearly 20 years. When she moved to Huntsville, she found Free 2 Teach — a nonprofit unlike any other she had experienced in other cities.
Free 2 Teach gives teachers in three different school districts throughout Madison County, access to cost-free supplies.
Schieler said having the freedom to hand-pick items for her classroom from the shelves of Free 2 Teach makes all the difference for her students.
“When they get to have these fun supplies, when they get to express and problem-solve and make real-world applications in different creative ways, that fosters engagement and engagement fosters dialogue, and dialogue fosters learning,” Schieler said.
She is one of 1,200 teachers visiting the nonprofit in the month of July alone. Executive Director Alison Kling explained that Free 2 Teach can stay stocked through monetary donations and supply drives like Bank Independent’s School Share 2022. This organization is one of five benefiting from Bank Independent’s drive.
“We had a record year last year, we gave away $1.38 million in supplies,” Kling said. “Big campaigns like this are so vital for us. Today, right now in the store we have 96 teachers coming through our doors, they’re filling their carts with an average of $515 dollars in supplies.”
Kling said as inflation drives prices for items to rise, so does the need for resources just like this one.
“We believe teachers shouldn’t have to spend anything out of pocket, but especially, right now, when families are being hit hard by prices, we want to be a place that continues to serve and support and our prices stay the same, which is free!” Kling said.
For that, teachers like Schieler are grateful.
“It is so supportive and to feel the community support in doing that, it is a true blessing,” Schieler said.
Eligible teachers can shop once a month at Free 2 Teach. If you’re a teacher and want to learn more or sign up, click here.
News 19 and Bank Independent are teaming up for School Share 2022 to help alleviate the costs for teachers and parents this school year. If you’re interested in donating or helping the cause, click here.