RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Hundreds of students in Palm Beach County will receive free, new school supplies next week thanks to the annual Tools for Schools program.
For the 20th year, Red Apple Supplies, the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County’s free teacher resource store, partnered with Publix Super Markets to distribute more than $201,000 essential school supplies to teachers from 120 Title I district schools.
Teachers and principals drove up to the Red Apple supply store in Riviera Beach as early as 8 a.m. to receive the supplies from volunteers, forming a line long enough to wrap around the building and continue down the street.
Volunteers loaded cars up with supplies while others served hot chocolate and sweets.
🍎🎉📚 Red Apple Supplies, @EducationFdnPBC free teacher resource store, is distributing over $200,000 worth of essential school supplies to teachers from 120 Title I District schools. This generous donation was made possible by @Publix Super Markets’ Tools for Schools program!💚 pic.twitter.com/zKhzWPQQw4
— The School District of Palm Beach County (@pbcsd) December 3, 2022
Education Foundation Chairman Jim Moore also served as a disc jockey for the event while a barbershop quartet serenaded drivers while they waited for the supplies. Santa Claus even paid a visit to the event.
Palm Beach County Superintendent Michael Burke said the event is especially needed with one in five district students at the poverty level.
“This goes a long way to make sure kids have the supplies they need to stay in the classroom,” Burke said.
Dwayne Dennard, the principal of Pahokee middle and high schools, seconded Burke’s words, emphasizing the need for supplies.
Dennard said 99% of the students in his two schools are on a free or reduced meal program, indicating a significant financial need.
“Without these supplies, a lot of our kids cannot reach their full potential,” Dennard said. “There are some kids that we lost because we didn’t have these types of supplies. It’s a great opportunity for parents and students with the way inflation is now.”
The supplies distributed included everything from notebooks to headphones and more.
Burke said the supplies will be distributed to students in school next week.