Online Movement Fulfills Classroom Wish Lists For Oklahoma Teachers
CANADIAN, Oklahoma - An online movement is happening that's helping teachers stock their classrooms without having to spend their own money.
Most teachers will tell you they can spend hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, out of pocket for classroom supplies that aren't in the school budget.
Now, a cool campaign has kicked off online where teachers are sharing what they need and strangers are stepping in to clear their wish lists.
“Oh this is another AG teacher within the state,” Canadian AG teacher Amber Hitchcock said holding up a little note.
Stacks of Amazon boxes keep coming into Hitchcock’s classroom in Canadian, just north of McAlester.
Some from friends of the packages are from friends, but most are from strangers and many are teacher.
“I've had teachers in Mississippi, Alabama and Texas gifting my kids, blessing my students with all these amazing products,” Hitchcock said.
Hitchcock’s list was fulfilled within a week.
“I cried. It has been a blessing,” Hitchcock said. “I've prayed over the boxes, to bless the sender to bless the recipients and it's been a true blessing for these kids.”
“I don't know these people at all, I have no clue who they are, but I'm glad that they're doing this for us,” freshman Nikita Crain said. “Thank you so much for supporting us and donating stuff for us.”
Many teachers are asking for things like books, pencils, papers and other classroom items, but Mrs. Hitchcock's wish list is a little different. She's asking mainly for personal and feminine hygiene products for her students.
“We have girls that miss a week of school once a month, every month,” Hitchcock said. “We have kids that aren't aware of their smell because they don't have running water at home. We have kids that have to go to old bathhouses to shower.”
The school year Hitchcock and some other teachers at the school will stock the boys and girls bathrooms with deodorant, body spray, dry shampoo and feminine hygiene products for the girls.
“When these families can't afford these things, it's terrible,” she said. “A good number of our kids are very low socioeconomic status. It's not the majority, but it's darn close. Darn close.”
Hitchcock is also setting up an online system for students to make special request for products.
“It comes straight to our emails, we will package up whatever items they need and we will put it in their locker and they take it home,” she said. “Being discreet is a big deal because I don't want them to go without because they're embarrassed.”
For Hitchcock, it’s simply a labor of love.
“These kids deserve the best of everything,” she said.
And her students are taking notice, some even hoping to one day follow in Mrs. Hitchcock's footsteps.
“I want to be a teacher someday, because Miss Hitchcock inspired me to be a teacher,” said Crain.
Hitchcock says she's gifted more than 20 teachers with wish list supplies.
She says another way to help is to call a teacher you know, or a school, and simply ask what they need.