Tools 4 Schools community supply drive runs through Aug. 7

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Investing in Kids (INK!) has launched the Tools 4 Schools classroom supply drive once again to support St. Johns County teachers and students through the 2022-23 school year.

Community and business collection drives are scheduled across the county coinciding with the Florida back-to-school tax-free holiday period, now through Sunday, Aug. 7, to prepare for the start of the school year on Aug. 10.

Tools 4 Schools is a community-based classroom supply initiative that seeks to reduce the out-of-pocket expense for educators and ensure that both teachers and students have the tools they need to be successful in the classroom.

To prepare for the school year, INK! and community partners host an annual countywide school supply drive in the summertime. Individuals, organizations and businesses are encouraged to participate by sponsoring drop-off locations, donating supplies and volunteering to help sort and distribute materials to teachers.

According to Donna Lueders, INK! executive director, on average, local teachers spend more than $800 of their own money purchasing school supplies for students and the classroom. The purpose of Tools 4 Schools is to minimize expenses for educators with a goal of serving approximately 3,000 teachers and 48,000 students countywide.

Lueders added that at the end of the 2021-22 school year, INK!’s Tools 4 School program reported record numbers of supplies delivered to teachers in every public school in St. Johns County. INK! filled and delivered nearly 1,400 teacher-requested orders of school supplies and educational materials with a total a value of $84,891.

The Tools 4 Schools program is made possible by annual donations from supporters, including Publix, Staples and The Bailey Group as well as local businesses that host collection drives, including Ameris Bank, Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, Community First Credit Union, Northrop Grumman, Solar Stik, SouthState Bank, the St. Johns County Tax Collector and VyStar Credit Union. 

For more than a decade, the Tools 4 Schools program has operated out of The Bailey Group Resource Depot, a permanent location donated by The Bailey Group that provides storage for the supplies collected during the Tools 4 Schools summer drives and throughout the year.

During the school year, teachers can order supplies online through the INK! website and orders are filled and delivered by INK! to their schools.

For more information on Tools 4 Schools or to coordinate a community drive effort, contact Jim Wheeler at 904-547-7121 or email james.wheeler@stjohns.k12.fl.us. For a complete list of businesses and community drive locations, go to ink-stjohns.org/toolsdrive22.

The St. Johns County Education Foundation which operates as Investing in Kids (INK!) provides innovative resources to support academic success for all St. Johns County public schools to benefit more than 48,000 students and approximately 3,000 teachers. The office is located at 1 Christopher St. in St. Augustine. For more information, contact Donna Lueders at 904-547-7120 or email Donna.Lueders@stjohns.k12.fl.us. The website is ink-stjohns.org.

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