Pencil Boy Express back delivering free supplies to Orange County schools after pandemic pause

A Gift For Teaching seeking donations to help schools in Orange, Osceola counties

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A Gift For Teaching’s Pencil Boy Express is returning on school campuses in Orange County after the pandemic forced a pause in its school supply deliveries.

It’s been more than a year since Pencil Boy Express had last delivered supplies to schools. For its first stop on Wednesday, the free school supply distribution visited Cypress Creek High School.

As schools closed and turned to distance learning in 2020, A Gift For Teaching paused its direct services to help maintain the health and safety of the community.

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Since then, Pencil Boy Express delivered family learning kits for children without supplies who were distance learning. It also equipped teachers of the highest-need schools with sets of supplies for the largest session of summer school ever.

Now that students have returned to school for the 2021-22 academic year, Pencil Boy Express officially received the green light to resume its travel routes to support Orange County teachers and their students with free educational resources.

Joelle Heath, a social studies teacher at Cypress Creek High, said events like this mean the world to her students.

“There are lots of students who don’t have everything they need to be ready for the classroom and it could be very embarrassing for them to admit — ‘I don’t have a pen, I don’t have a pencil, I don’t have a notebook’ — and this way they know the supplies are there in my classroom and they can just go grab whatever they need,” Heath said.

According to the principal, Dr. John Mchale, some kids struggle more than others.

“It’s a way for a teacher or an educator like myself to connect with a kid on a level that’s not just ‘hey, I’m your boss for the day,’ and the kids want to do well,” Mchale said. “When they see we care about them, and we truly do care about them at this school, it makes them want to perform that much better.”

A Gift For Teaching says about 70% of public schools in Osceola and Orange County Schools are deemed high-need.

The organization said it needs help to fulfill that need. It is calling for more people to donate.

“Imagine all that need in this community, that you can help by just giving a little bit and making sure those students then have the essential learning tools to succeed,” Marisa Worley with A Gift For Teaching said.

For teacher shopping information and eligibility, click here.

For more information about donating to A Gift For Teaching, click here.


About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.