By: Stacy Wheeler—
Muncie, IN— The Kids In Need Foundation, a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing free school supplies to economically disadvantaged school children and under-funded teachers, announced it has added the local Muncie non-profit, the Back To School Teachers Store, to its national network of free teacher stores. Now networked with 40 independently operated free teacher stores in the U.S.A., The Back To School Teachers Store will be able to provide greater resources to Muncie and East Central Indiana. Inclusion in the national network is by application evaluation only and is based on sustainability, capacity, and overall economic need.
“We are very grateful to have local businesses, community partners and friends donate school supplies by the car load,” said Stacy Wheeler, the executive director of the Back To School Teachers Store. “More teachers are utilizing our store requiring us to find even more ways to provide core school supplies in larger quantities – including 200,000 pencils, 6,000 spiral notebooks and 30,000 glue sticks annually.”
In 2016, the Back To School Teachers Store had a record year and gave local teachers $406,000 worth of free school supplies, providing 86 percent more learning tools for their classrooms than three years ago. “Being part of the KINF network starting this January will help address our growing need for more free school supplies year round,” said Wheeler. “We are looking for local donors to help cover transportation costs of the free product donations being made through the national KINF network to our nonprofit.
For instance, our last shipment cost us just under $2,000 in transportation costs, which translated into over $330,000 worth of free school supplies.” The KINF network requires that all free teacher stores have a loading dock suitable to receive semi-truck deliveries. Late last fall, a working loading dock was installed at the Muncie teacher store, with support from the local Kiwanis, Pridemark Construction and The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County.
The Back To School Teachers Store strives to serve area schools where high percentages of students are enrolled in the federal free and reduced lunch program and operate similar to a retail store where any teacher would go to buy supplies for their students or classrooms. The difference is that there is no charge for any of the school supplies or teaching tools taken from the shelves.
“The Back To School Teachers Store is truly making an impact in their community,” said Dave Smith, executive director of the Kids In Need Foundation. “Their service model aligns with the Kids In Need mission, and we are proud to be able to help them serve students most in need.”
About the Back To School Teachers Store
The Back To School Teachers Store (BTSTS) is a FREE source of supplies for teachers of kids in need. We are a local 501(c)(3) non-profit that serves Muncie and Delaware County, Indiana teachers from (60) sixty K thru 12 schools, preschools and afterschool programs. In 2016, the BTSTS provided $406,000 worth of school supplies and books to area teachers. For more information, visit www.btsts.org.
About the Kids In Need Foundation
The Kids In Need Foundation is a national 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded in 1995. The Foundation’s mission is to ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed by providing free school supplies nationally to students most in need. Its National Network of Resource Centers includes 40 facilities where teachers from low-income schools go to obtain free school supplies for their students. School supply distribution is also coordinated through the School Ready Supplies program, and students who have gone through natural disasters are helped to get back to their normal routines with new backpacks and supplies through the Second Responder program. In addition, the Teacher Grant program provides high-need preK-12 educators with product for use in the classroom. The Kids In Need Foundation has distributed more than $800 million in school supplies since its founding, directly benefiting 4.8 million students annually. Kids In Need has earned the Gold GuideStar Exchange Seal, demonstrating its commitment to transparency, and has been given a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, indicating that it operates in a fiscally responsible way and outperforms most other charities in America.
For more information, visit www.kinf.org.