World Vision Appalachia can help supplement teachers’ school supplies

BUCKHANNON, WEST VIRGINIA – A program through World Vision is helping teachers in some classrooms acquire much-needed supplies for their students.

Buckhannon Academy Elementary School instructor Sherri Hoover recently traveled to the World Vision Teacher Resource Center in Philippi to get new school supplies for her classroom.

“There are many schools in Buckhannon and across West Virginia that participate in this program,” Hoover said following her visit on Thursday. “It is through World Vision Appalachia.”

World Vision Appalachia operates under the umbrella of the global Christian humanitarian organization, World Vision.

According to their website, World Vision serves West Virginia, with a focus on Barbour County.

Their work in Appalachia began in 1981 with programs including Essential Supplies, Teacher Resource Center, Building Materials, mission trips and more.

Hoover said to participate in the Teacher Resource Center, schools must qualify. World Vision’s Teacher Resource Center provides new school supplies to educators teaching in low-income neighborhoods where at least 70 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches, according to World Vision’s website.

Eligible teachers may shop for free supplies.

“You must apply to be eligible to partake in their services,” Hoover said. “World Vision partners with manufacturers and corporations who donate materials to their sites like the one in Philippi.”

Those schools who qualify can shop four times a year, and Hoover said she typically goes before school begins, in October or November and this trip in February. She said she will go back for her final visit at the end of the academic school year.

“They get donated materials from places like Staples, Target, Office Max and Office Depot, and other areas similar to that,” Hoover said. “We get things like binders, crayons, markers, pencils, notebooks, copy paper, scissors and glue sticks. Quite often, they are cast-offs at the end of a palette that they have not been able to sell. Sometimes the condition is not the greatest, but you can sort through and find ones you can use.”

The World Vision website said that these supplies – paper, pencils, scissors and glue sticks – may seem like a modest expense, but for children whose parents might barely be able afford rent and food, new school supplies are a luxury.

“They also have hygiene products as well that we can use for our classrooms and distribute to our students,” she said. “Last year, I was given 25 toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste for my classroom to hand out to the students. We also can get cleaning supplies such as hand sanitizer.”

In her classroom, Hoover said she offers an incentive program for her students.

“World Vision offers supplies for [incentives],” she said. “This time, I was able to pick up a virtual reality headset and a remote-control helicopter. I get binders for my classroom every year from there – some in the beginning of the year, and I will get some at the end of the year so I will have enough for every student. Supplies there can vary on what is donated to them to distribute.”

Other supplies Hoover said she has selected through the year include rulers, presentation boards for projects, staples, paper clips, file folders, two-pocket folders and books.

“Last year I received an electric stapler – there was only one, and I happened to be there at the right time. Some of their items are limited, but most of the office supplies are unlimited including tape, glue sticks and scissors. This time when I went, they had backpacks that were filled with school supplies – we were able to get five of those – I will save those for the beginning of next year when I have students who come in that need them.”

Hoover said Buckhannon Academy Elementary School has been partnering with World Vision for approximately three years.

“There were a few other schools in Upshur County I believe have participated in the program for longer than BAES – I know French Creek had been using the program for a few years prior to us joining,” Hoover said.

“What is nice is, I can use my excess levy money for teacher resources,” she added. “Paper, glue and notebooks are consumables each year and need replaced several times each year. I can get those at World Vision for free, which then allows me to be able to spend my Faculty Senate money and excess levy money on more pertinent supplemental resources that aid in my instruction versus it being materials students will use on a daily basis.

“World Vision is such a wealth of things that you can get to help round out your classroom. I am able to use my levy money in a much more meaningful way – to provide all of the supplies needed.”

When World Vision has its distribution days, it sends notice to the school principals, who inform their staff. Each teacher then gets online and registers with World Vision and selects a day and time to visit to pick out supplies.

“They also have furniture, including desks, filing cabinets and metal shelving,” Hoover said. “This time I got a rolling cart – they had about 35 of those in stock. Last year I got a set of classroom books for my class – Percy Jackson. This year, they did not have any books I did not already have. You just don’t know what is going to be there.”

Hoover said she is very grateful for all that World Vision Appalachia Teacher Resource Center provides.

“Yes, we do receive excess school levy monies to purchase supplies,” Hoover said, “but this really helps us stretch that money out throughout the year.”

Additional information about World Vision Appalachia and their Teacher Resource Center is available online at http://www.worldvisionusprograms.org/appalachia.php or by calling 304-457-6612.

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