The start of school is around the corner, and educators across Oklahoma are scrambling to get school supplies. So, the Muskogee community and local organizations wanted to do something good to make the lives of hundreds of teachers a little easier.
"This is awesome!" said Muskogee first grade teacher Sharika Cole. Cole couldn't stop smiling as she filled up a wagon full of free supplies for her classroom.
"I am just so appreciative that people thought enough of us to donate such wonderful things. I mean my basket is just over running it’s crazy," Cole said with a smile.
An entire room was filled with supplies at Northeastern State University. The supplies were donated by local businesses, nonprofits, and the Rotary Club.
Jenny Jamison, executive director of Lake Area United Way, said the amount of donations they received more than doubled from last year.
"I'm very proud of our community, very proud what our teachers are doing every day, and very proud Muskogee has stepped in, and said, we see you, we love you and we want to show you that," said Jamison.
Over 300 teachers attended the event. Many of those teachers said supply giveaways are needed more than ever because supplies are harder to come by and prices have increased dramatically.
Librarian Gina Batie knows the supply struggle first-hand.
"I know with ordering books from my library, that the cost of the books and everything is just taking a little bit longer because of COVID-19 so that affects schools and people may not realize it,” Batie said.
Some teachers even won a free iPad and free food for their students. Cole said she wants the volunteers and community to know - their teachers are thankful.
"It’s been a hard time and as we’re kind of getting back into a new school year and we’re trying to create a sense of normalcy," Cole said. "When we have things like this, it means so much. This is money that I don’t have to spend. These are resources that I didn’t even think of that I might need for my classroom, and so I am just so thankful."
The United Way plans to hold this event again next summer.