by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Teachers said they are forced to spend more and more of their own money for supplies for their students as school budgets tighten.
Channel 9's School Tools collection helps to provide Classroom Central with many of the items that the organization gives to teachers.
One teacher who knows how important those donations can be.
Michelle Ellis doesn't take it for granted that she can get pencils her students will need for free.
She's able to shop several times a year at Classroom Central then take everything back to Hunter Huss High School and have it ready for the students.
“I've had to provide notebooks for students, book bags for students -- of course, the basic essentials of pencil and paper. They need a lot of that," Ellis said.
She tries to pay special attention to the students who don't have those basic supplies because she was one of them.
As a teenager, she and her family were homeless.
There was no money for even the most inexpensive items but she was able to attend a local private school only because her mother cleaned the floors there.
“Our teachers would give us things as best they could, with what they had,” Ellis said. “I needed that to help me get where I needed to be and so now to be on the other end of that is very meaningful to me.”
She hopes the donated supplies make a difference to students who are struggling just like she did.
Visit www.9schooltools.com has more information.