Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Teachers Line Up at Depot to Load Up on Free Supplies Group Dashes in for Donated Items

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Teachers Line Up at Depot to Load Up on Free Supplies Group Dashes in for Donated Items

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Diamond, Times-Union staff writer

Like a sprinter at the starting line, Charles Lowe shook out his arms and legs as he waited for the Teacher Supply Depot to open yesterday.

Once the doors opened, he dashed in and quickly scanned the smorgasbord of donated items. Within 30 seconds, he snatched up three stools and a chair.

The new physical-education teacher at Baldwin Middle/High School then ran to the back of the old John Gorrie Elementary and waited to enter the prized "limited" room.

The room contained a plethora of new items donated by area businesses. There were new binders, folders, chairs, book covers, books, posters, mouse pads and reading tapes. Teachers are limited to taking only one or two of each item on display.

It was Lowe's first time at the depot, which has been providing Duval County public school teachers with free supplies for five years. He spoke to other teachers to devise an attack plan to get the best supplies.

"There's a lot of good stuff here and I want to get at it," said Lowe, who got in line at 6 a.m., three hours before doors opened. "The early bird catches the worm, at least that's what they say."

Teachers darted among nine classrooms with more than $2 million worth of donated items. The depot is organized by the Duval County School Board and the PTA.

The rooms contained small, practical items like papers, pens, staplers and marking pens. Other rooms were packed with books and encyclopedias. There were also computers, typewriters, printers and chalkboards for the picking.

The depot operates throughout the school year, but its biggest showing is for back-to-school. Students return to school Aug. 7. About 700 teachers searched for goodies yesterday, said Chris Buckley, who manages the depot.

"Teachers only receive a $50 stipend to buy supplies, and that money doesn't go far," Buckley said. …

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