Help Me Give To Teachers
November 10, 2019 9:23 AM   Subscribe

Mr. Westridge and I would like to give some assistance to teachers in our area this Holiday season. We don't have kids, and so are pretty clueless regarding whats needed and how to get it into the right hands. Details follow.

We'd really like to assist teachers in our own community, but suggestions for assisting teachers nationally, or in general are also helpful. We live in Albuquerque N.M. USA. We are open to giving money, or supplies (not really interested in volunteering, as we already do that in other areas). We don't know how to find out what's needed, or where to donate. I am Google searching but hoped you guys might have creative ideas Google might not cover.
posted by WalkerWestridge to Society & Culture (12 answers total) is designed for this. Teachers post needs for their classroom or for a special project, and you donate so they can purchase supplies. You can search by location.
posted by geegollygosh at 9:32 AM on November 10, 2019 [16 favorites]

You've probably already found these Googling, but Donors Choose currently has several interesting projects for the Albuquerque area:

Requests from Albuquerque Teachers
posted by northernish at 9:33 AM on November 10, 2019

The first thing I'd suggest is picking a local school and donating to their PTA. While you might want to investigate a little bit (I've known PTAs that weren't putting their money to much use), I know that our PTA a) does good fundraising work, and b) buys supplies like paper towels and tissues for classrooms. They also supply printer paper over and above the very rationed amount from the school district, and small ($200) grants to teachers for things like new bookshelves, rugs, etc.

I also use the site to find specific classrooms with specific needs. Here is a search based on Albequerque. (Jinx!)
posted by gideonfrog at 9:34 AM on November 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

Another vote for Donors Choose. Or just drop some Amazon cards at your local school. Some Title I (the poorest) schools don’t have PTAs, as there just aren’t enough involved, available parents to volunteer. Giving to a PTA means your money is going to a school that already has more resources than some
posted by horizons at 9:56 AM on November 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

I would go with Donors Choose for this. PTAs in my experience tend to serve the most powerful members’ interests, which ends up excluding teachers whose classrooms are not represented because parents can’t make it to meetings.
posted by corey flood at 10:51 AM on November 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

Find a school near you in an under-resourced area, and call the principal to ask what they need. You could ask how many classrooms there are in the school and buy some supplies for each classroom.

If it's anything like here in Chicago, teachers are always running out of basic supplies - tissues, copier paper, whiteboard markers, hand sanitizer, and paper towels are a few that come to my mind.
posted by mai at 10:54 AM on November 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

That's a really good point. In that case, I second picking a school and reaching out to the principal. Basic supplies--especially the unglamorous ones like tissues and printer paper--are almost always going to make a huge difference.
posted by gideonfrog at 11:22 AM on November 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Agreed - just pop into the office of the closest school in your neighborhood, and repeat your question there. I'm sure you'll be welcomed with smiles and suggestions. And don't overlook your local adult school.
posted by Rash at 11:29 AM on November 10, 2019

I’m a teacher. Donor’s Choose is nice but some districts don’t let teachers use it (wtf) and it also tends to lend itself to special projects rather than regular classroom needs (and often special projects in communities that are already fairly well-resourced). If I wanted to make a difference to individual teachers, I’d probably email an elementary principal of a school in an area, ask how many teachers there are at each grade and see how many full grades worth of teachers I could swing giving a $25-100 gift card (Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon) with a nice note to. You also find a list of teachers on the school website, tell them your plan and ask for a list of classroom needs and go get supplies yourself.

Some school districts also have a limit on the dollar amount of gifts a teacher can get (my district caps gifts to teachers at $50, if you donated classroom supplies directly it would not necessarily trigger this but gift cards would).
posted by charmedimsure at 11:31 AM on November 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

I am also a teacher. This time of year what would help me most is someone helping my students' families provide for their basic needs. Warm coats, appropriate footwear, food at home, vision/dental/medical care. Some schools and districts stock a clothing closet or food pantry. I guarantee that any donations you give will be appreciated. For health needs, you might reach out to a local chapter of the Lions Club or your local community health organization. I have no kidding had kids wait MONTHS for major dental work and a pair of glasses because their families did not have private (affordable) insurance and it was a matter of waiting until their child's name got to the top of the charity waitlist. A cash donation to sponsor a student and cover costs would have been a godsend. I buy "spare" shoes, coats, undies, and socks for children to "borrow" if they forget theirs or theirs are too small, literally falling apart, etc. and every year they are all gone by spring time.
posted by Lady Sugar Maple at 5:20 PM on November 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

When we had some extra money in our account, I walked into the local school that I knew was extremely underfunded, and asked to talk to the principal and explained that I wanted to write the school a check.

It wasn't for a lot ($1000) but I had three administrators come in and hug me when I was sitting in his office. They used the money to buy equipment for gym class, which made me super happy :)
posted by gaspode at 7:10 PM on November 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

I was a teacher, now I'm an administrator.

Serious answer: send a check to the presidential candidate who will get rid of Betsy DeVos and who supports education.

Want to do more? Okay. Bring the teachers an absolutely amazing catered lunch with healthy salads and sandwiches and treats to thank them for their work.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 12:48 PM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

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