Teacher in poor school district posted about not having supplies, then sorority sisters filled her entire wish list
Pencils, pens, crayons, construction paper, T-shirts, snacks and, sometimes, a pair of shoes: The costs add up for public school teachers who reach into their own pockets for classroom supplies, ensuring their students have the necessities of learning.
Nearly all teachers are footing the bill for classroom supplies, an Education Department report found, and teachers in high-poverty schools spend more than those in affluent schools. But one teacher in a poor school district, who was desperate for supplies, took to social media and her sorority sisters had her back.
When Michelle Lindsey, a high school teacher in North Carolina, goes back to school later this month, she is going to need a caravan of trucks to deliver school supplies to her classroom.
Lindsey, a 13-year teaching veteran, has nearly 100 boxes of school supplies at her home thanks to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
Her sorority sisters responded to a message she put out on Facebook when she realized she didn’t have all the resources she needed for her students.
“As soon as I hit send I had to turn my phone on silent because of the notifications coming in,” she said. “It was all sisters asking, ‘What can I do?'”
“We are in a very poor district,” added Lindsey, noting she only gets basic supplies like pencils and tape from the school district. “We do a supply list online and ask the kids to get them. Out of a class of 20 I might have nine that can get their school supplies. It’s either you do your class based upon kids maybe having supplies or not having supplies or you just make sure that they have them.”
Lindsey, 44, teaches family and consumer science at Lakewood High School in Salemburg, North Carolina.
She joined Delta Sigma Theta, a nonprofit organization of college-educated women focused on service, last year hoping to find a sisterhood.
Lindsey estimates she has had to replenish her Amazon Wish List, where she posts the supplies she needs, at least five times. Because her classroom does not have books for every student, Lindsey makes each student what she calls an “interactive notebook” so they have their own book to follow along with the lesson.
In addition to normal classroom supplies like glue sticks and notebooks, Lindsey also needs kitchen supplies because her curriculum includes cooking.
One of the Delta sisters who stepped up to help was Kimberly Warren Green, a registered nurse in Tacoma, Washington.
Green, by chance, is a graduate of Lakewood High School and reached out to Lindsey as soon as she saw her post.
“That’s what we do. We help each other,” she said of Delta Sigma Theta members.
“For me, my motto is, love is not love until you give it away,” Green added. “It would be so wrong of me to not give some of my love away to [my sorority sister] but also to my school that helped me build my foundation of where I am today.”
Green will be among the Delta Sigma members who will receive a handwritten thank you note for her donation. Writing thank you notes to donors will be the first homework assignment Lindsey gives her students when they return on Aug. 26.
She also plans to hold “supply celebrations” in her classes so the students can celebrate the generosity of others.
John Goode, principal of Lakewood High School, described Lindsey as a “resourceful” and “conscientious” teacher whose classroom is a “buzz of activity.”
“I think Ms. Lindsey’s students are very aware and appreciative of her efforts on their behalf,” he said. “Ms. Lindsey is very conscientious of her students and strives to provide them with a rich and rewarding classroom experience on a daily basis.”
Lindsey said she sees her students work harder when they know that she or a complete stranger went the extra mile to help them.
“Imagine if your parents didn’t care about you or your parents cared but can’t do [for you] and you hear that someone in Arizona or Washington cares about you enough to give you a notebook, that’s got to move you,” she said. “[My students] know that Ms. Lindsey is going to go to the end of the road for them and they know that I care.”
Lindsey also hopes the generosity of her sorority sisters shows the students that there is good in the world. She noted that she posted her request for supplies the same weekend that mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, took the lives of at least 31 people.
“I thought look at what God has shown me,” she said of the response to her post. “I can go back to my classroom now and say, ‘Yes things happen and they’re terrible and you can’t even imagine them happening, but good things also happen.'”
You can continue to support this amazing teacher by checking out her wish list in the Facebook link below: