Picture a child at school trying to write without a pencil, read without books or dream without the tools to put her ideas on paper. This is the reality for far too many students in our community. For thousands, basic learning tools are a luxury. In fact, more than half of the students in our region come from families that can’t afford lunch, let alone school supplies.
Moved by this need, and the fact that many teachers spend $500 – $1,000 annually out of their own pocket on their students, Classroom Central was founded in 2002 with support from the Charlotte Chamber and the Carolina Panthers.
Classroom Central started its journey by serving students and teachers in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Over the past 17 years, it has expanded into six school districts, serving some 127,000 students in nearly 200 schools in CMS, Gaston County, Iredell-Statesville, Union County, City of Kannapolis and Lancaster County, South Carolina. Teachers and other school personnel are eligible to receive free supplies if 50% or more of their students receive free or reduced-price lunch.
Classroom Central is about more than just basic school supplies. When a teacher “shops” at our Free Store or Mobile Free Store, they may receive $400+ worth of free materials that include essential school supplies, cleaning supplies, personal care items, STEM and literacy materials and lesson plans, books and much more.
Classroom Central is affiliated with The Kids in Need Foundation, an organization that supports a national network of school resource centers. As we approach two decades of service to the Charlotte region, we will continue to partner with our community to meet the needs of our students and teachers.