TEXAS, USA — A Southeast Texas teacher has started a Facebook group that's helping teachers get the school supplies they need for their classrooms.
According to the Federal Department of Education, 94 percent of public school teachers pay for their own classroom supplies and are not reimbursed.
On average, teachers typically spend up to $1,000 of their own money on the supplies.
Amazon Prime Day may be the perfect time for folks to help local teachers out.
Courtney Jones, who is a teacher in Tyler County, started the group and hopes the idea will spread across the nation.
"It's a place for teachers to support other teachers," Jones said.
It is simple to get started. All you need to do it request to join the Facebook group Teacher Amazon Gifting. Teachers post their Amazon 'Wish Lists.'
Other teachers, along with anyone wanting to help out, pay for items on the list.
Anyone can join the group, but only teachers can share their classroom wish list.
Anyone can make purchases from teachers' lists, and the items will be sent to the teacher that created the list.
Teachers wishing to participate should make sure a correct email address is linked to the list.
For anyone worried about privacy, the addresses on the lists are private.
She understands it can be a burden for teachers to purchase classroom supplies.
"I wanted to let teachers know they are appreciated. I am a teacher myself so I know how important it is for them to know how much they are appreciated," Jones said.
The way the group works is really simple.
Teachers post their Amazon wish list to the group, and anyone can offer to help.
Melissa McClory's list has basic items.
"I have pencils, and pens and highlighters erasers, Kleenex, glue. Anything, the staples for the classroom," McClory said.
McClory is a fourth grade English, Language Arts and Reading teacher.
The upcoming school year will be her second in the classroom.
She said she spent over $2,500 on supplies her first year.
"It helps me out. It helps them out," McClory said. "Whatever is best to help them engage."
Even with the new teacher pay raises approved by the legislature, Texas lags behind the national average in teacher salaries.
McClory wants parents to understand the school supplies they buy in the fall won't last the entire year.
"Once you get through x amount of months, it's forgotten to replenish, and it pretty much falls on the teachers and school district to replenish," McClory said.
This is another major reason why Jones created this page.
She also hopes it lets teachers know that others do care.
"We are all just really pumped and super happy and it's refreshing to go back into the school year, and have this awakened energy," McClory said. "And refocus to what really matters, and that's the kids."