Family Focus

Tens of thousands of school items donated during WSOC-TV collection day

WSOC-TV celebrated the 25th annual 9 School Tools collection day on Wednesday with an official proclamation as Vi Lyles, mayor of Charlotte, declared Aug. 18, 2021, “9 School Tools Day.”

The 9 School Tools Special Collection Day is a day full of fun and giving, where community members are invited to come out to the WSOC-TV Studios and donate school supplies -- all in efforts to help local students prepare for the upcoming school year.

All materials that were donated are distributed to create inviting learning environments and to support the academic and personal growth of students whose families lack the resources needed to purchase school supplies.

For students of low-income families, not having adequate school supplies can drastically change their trajectory for a successful future.

On average, teachers spend $1,000 on school supplies every year.

WSOC-TV’s 9 School Tools campaign is a part of the Channel 9 Family Focus brand and was introduced in 1997.

Covering over 22 counties, this is the largest school supply drive in the Carolinas and has served over 4 million children to date.

In partnership with Communities in Schools Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Classroom Central, WSOC-TV collects school supplies which are then distributed to students in grades K – 12.

These items play a big role in preparing students to be successful in the upcoming school year.

From civic organizations to churches, cars lined up at the entrance of the WSOC-TV studio and tens of thousands of school supply items were donated.

Some of our large donors included the Charlotte Fire Department. The fire department’s 43 stations across Mecklenburg County serve as donation locations for the drive.

The women of the Charlotte Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. collected nearly 11,000 school supplies.

A long-time donor to the 9 Family Focus initiatives, Cecil Neal, drove up in his white pickup truck with two pallets of school supplies.

The 87-year-old retired sheriff’s deputy and army veteran has shown up for countless drives. After pulling up, the team of WSOC-TV employees and volunteers unloaded his truck before creating a line on both sides of his truck and applauding his effort as he drove off.

From groups and families to individuals, every donation will give another opportunity to another child to succeed.

The donations received in Mecklenburg County will be distributed by Classroom Central in their free store.

Classroom Central’s Free Store is a retail operation where teachers and other school personnel from eligible schools shop for free supplies throughout the academic year.

In addition to basic supplies — such as pencils, paper, notebooks, glue sticks and folders — teachers will find backpacks, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) materials and lesson plans, a literacy section that includes books and lesson plans, copy paper, arts and crafts materials, classroom decorations, cleaning supplies, personal care items and more.

This year’s, 9 School Tools will continue to run through Aug. 31.

You can donate the school supplies at any Arby’s, Ashley HomeStore, E.R. Plumbing Services and Charlotte Fire Department stations.


Financial donations can also be made to the 9 School Tools program that supports Classroom Central.


Learn more about 9 School Tools at

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, public affairs manager at WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte, at