A Gift For Teaching volunteers organize thousands of donated school supplies

Supplies will benefit nearly 300 schools in Orange, Osceola counties

By Mark Lehman - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla.- - Dozens of volunteers were hard at work Thursday as they organized tens of thousands of newly donated school supplies to A Gift For Teaching.

The donation came as a result of Walt Disney World's annual back to school drive. More than 40 employees kicked off the first of three days sorting through the classroom essentials that will go to students in need.

"What Disney does for us and makes possible, I don't know how we would do it without them," A Gift For Teaching President Jane Thompson said. "They undertake probably the biggest back to school supply drive to benefit A Gift For Teaching in our community, which we are so grateful for."

A recent study showed Central Florida is home to 240,000 students who can't afford the supplies needed to succeed.

In an effort to meet that need, A Gift For Teaching serves 286 schools in Orange and Osceola counties. According to the organization, 140,000 students will receive supplies this year that they otherwise would be without.

"We really want to level the playing field and give every child, no matter their socioeconomic background, a chance to be successful in the classroom," Thompson said.

While many teachers have already filled their carts with supplies ahead of the first day of school, Thompson said the need continues throughout the school year.

For every $1 donated, A Gift For Teaching can provide $20 worth of essential supplies to high-need students.

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