By JULIA MATTSON
Every year, teachers and schools ask families to provide their own basic school supplies. This list is daunting and unattainable for many kids. Because these kids cannot afford supplies, teachers will often spend their own money to help these students with supplies and classroom needs. But the need is far greater than the teachers can handle.
This is where the new nonprofit, Companies To Classrooms, comes in. Their founders, Mary Jo Jauert and Mary Beth Kjolhaug, developed a program where local businesses donate their excess supplies and inventories to students who need supplies. These excess supplies are warehoused and merchandised in a “free store” located at 2307 West Superior Street in Duluth. Teachers and school staff can come in and have a monthly shopping opportunity to get these supplies into their classrooms and into the hands of students, at no cost to them or the school.
“We’ve modeled our program after another similar program in the Twin Cities, which has been profiled in ‘O’ magazine (Oprah’s magazine),” said Kjolhaug. “When a business is closing down, changing merchandise, etc., they can donate their excess supplies to Companies To Classrooms. A few examples of supplies would be binders, folders, pens, pencils, clips, staplers, and paper.”
Rather than having excess materials hauled to a landfill, businesses can now donate these items, help their local community, and may realize tax benefits in the process.
“We are looking for donations, both in supplies and financial contributions,” said Jauert. “We could also use volunteers to help us in the store. And too, we want people to know we support the school districts in Duluth, Hermantown, Proctor, and Superior.”
More information about Companies To Classrooms can be found at Facebook, by searching for “Companies To Classrooms Duluth”, or on the web at www.companiestoclassroomsduluth.com, or by e-mailing Jauert at email@example.com or Kjolhaug at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also call (218) 529-7728.
Note: Julia Mattson is with the Lincoln Park Business Group