Schoolhouse Supply Store offers free supplies for teachers

ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - Families all across Michiana are gearing up to send their children back to school, but they aren't the only ones stocking up on school supplies and hoping to save a few bucks in the process.

Teachers are left to prepare their own classrooms on their own, spending tons of money out of their own pockets to do so. Thankfully for teachers in Elkhart Community Schools, the district is offering some help.

"For many years, I was a classroom teacher, and I know exactly what it feels like to dig money out of your pocket to make sure the kids in your classroom have what they need," said Ashley Molyneaux, executive director of the Elkhart Education Foundation.

She had the idea to open a store for teachers that provided them with the needed supplies at absolutely no cost.

"We wanted to provide an opportunity for our educators, not only classroom teachers but paraprofessionals and counselors, to come get what they need to help set their kids up for success in the classroom," Molyneaux said.

The Elkhart Education foundation opened up the Schoolhouse Supply store earlier this week for teachers to shop.

"Teachers are spending hundreds to make sure their students have what they need," Superintendent Steve Thalheimer said. "While we have budgets and supplies, with the needs of students, we have to fill that gap."

Maria Hite is a first-year teacher at Mary Feeser Elementary School, and while planning her classroom, she was starting to worry about the costs starting to pile up.

"Because I'm a resource room, I didn't want my kids taking things back and forth, so I needed to get supplies, and it started to total up," Hite said.

She added that without the store providing supplies for free, Hite would spend close to $500 to get the same supplies she picked up from the store at no charge.

For a list of hours or to shop the store online, click here.