ELKVIEW, W.Va. — The average teacher spends about $500 of his or her own money each year on classroom supplies, according to Amelia Courts, president of the Education Alliance.
“We wanted to step up and help teachers fill that void,” Courts said.
On Thursday, the Education Alliance presented a $55,000 check to West Virginia teachers impacted by the June 2016 flood. Donations were made through the “Floods of Support” campaign.
More than 230 teachers will each receive a $225 gift card. The money will be used to restock their classrooms.
“Each teacher will have the opportunity to buy things like tissues, wipes, paper, notebooks, things that they use every day and often times pay for out of their own pocket,” Courts said.
About $28,000 will go toward more than 120 teachers in Kanawha County. Thursday’s presentation was held at Elkview Middle School where students from flooded Herbert Hoover High School are splitting their days on a split schedule.
“Even nine months out it still gets a little emotional for you,” said Melissa Lovejoy, principal at Elkview Middle, fighting back tears. “It’s just nice to be able to give them what they need to make things happen and to continue to provide for the kids in the classroom.”
Portables classroom buildings were being installed at Elkview Middle during the time of the presentation. Hoover students will move into those units sometime next month, according to Kanawha County school officials.
“Watching the portables go up is amazing,” Lovejoy said. “Just to know that that’s one step closer to great things happening.”
Courts said this money comes at a good time as teachers prepare to move into those units.
“They’ll have the opportunity to have a fresh, clean space and have something that’s sort of their own classroom,” she said.
The community support has been “overwhelming” with constant donations pouring in since the flood, Lovejoy said.
“These little steps that we see are just baby steps, but they’re huge celebrations and we’ve had those all along the way,” she said.
Teachers in Nicholas and Greenbrier counties will also receive gift cards to be put toward supplies.
Campaign contributions came from businesses across the state and more than 45 individuals.