CLEVELAND - It's back-to-school shopping time for teachers and they're getting some help from Cleveland's Kids in Need Resource Center.
"I'm just like a kid in a candy store," said Mykal Thomas, a math and science teacher at Anton Grdina Elementary School in Cleveland.
The shelves at the resource center are stocked with school supplies, everything from Elmer's glue to school uniforms.
The store is not open to the public, but teachers can shop for free if they work at one of the Cuyahoga County schools where 65 percent to 70 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches. There are 220 schools in the program this year from Cleveland to Euclid to Parma.
"We have kids that bounce around from parents' house to grandparents' house," said Matt Luecke, a social studies teacher at St. John Nottingham Lutheran School. "We have a lot of parents working more than one job just to support their families so they might not even know where they're staying that night. We have kids that show up without a book bag. 'It's in grandma's car and I won't see her until Friday.'"
Teachers often spend their own money to make sure students have the supplies they need to succeed academically. So for them, a store that offers free supplies is huge.
"I have heard teachers say 'I spent 500.' I've heard teachers say 'I spent 2,000,'" said Cassandra Seiter, an intervention specialist at Citizens Leadership Academy. "Pencils may not seem expensive, but if you're constantly buying them it adds up."
There are plenty of opportunities for individuals and groups to help Kids in Need through donations and volunteering. You can find out more about it at http://clevelandkidsinneed.org/