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Dec 03, 2018

Pencils. Paper. Crayons. Glue sticks.

It takes supplies like these — and so many others — to keep a classroom running. And that costs money. Sometimes it comes right out of teachers’ pockets. But since 2002, Maple City Kiwanis Club has run the Tools-4-Schools program, collecting discounted school supplies and offering them each month to teachers in Goshen, Indiana — for no cost.

_S7A6236Thanks to a grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund, the club has expanded the program. Co-chaired by club members Janet Buccicone and Earlene Nofziger, Tools-4-Schools now serves 20 schools. And it provides more supplies — even opening the club’s warehouse twice a month instead of one.

“The kids love when I go shopping there,” says Ruth Newall, a third-grade teacher. “They see a big bag show up in the classroom and can’t wait to dig through the treasures.”

For some kids, those treasures are necessities. “We had a few boys who didn’t have anything to pack their lunches in,” says Anita Laughlin, kindergarten teacher at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School. “So we got lunchboxes from Tools-4-Schools. It was like Christmas, watching those boys open up their gifts.” 

_S7A6248 (1)In fact, the program’s growth allows teachers to request specific items. Many use it to find basic items like scissors and rulers — things that parents may otherwise have to purchase every year.

The program supplies larger items too. Last year, there were five styles of desk chairs in St. John’s third- and fourth-grade classrooms. Some were more comfortable than others, which often caused bickering among students. Thanks to a donation from the Maple City Kiwanis Club, third and fourth graders received matching desk chairs.

Sometimes the strangest donations make a big difference. When the club received dozens of five-gallon buckets, they weren’t sure how they’d be used. But students used foam and fabric to create reading stools out of the overturned buckets. Each student got to decorate his or her stool, use it for reading time and take it home at the end of the year.

_S7A6393In their little corner of a warehouse, Buccicone and Nofziger offer every school supply you can imagine. And twice a month, you’ll see dozens of grateful teachers there, ready to put it all to good use.

Interested in applying for a club grant from the Children’s Fund? Application deadlines are February 1, June 1, and September 1. Learn more here.