Viral gifting campaign helping teachers #ClearTheList

Teachers paying for classroom supplies out of pocket is nothing new..

But thanks to a new viral movement called #ClearTheList, this school year they're getting help from friends - and strangers.

"On average teachers spend about $500 a year on supplies," says Trisha Turk, a kindergarten teacher at Southeast Delco School District in Glendolden, Pennsylvania. "Only about $250 is tax deductible."

Even with city and state funding, teachers all across the country, just like Turk, often dig into their own pockets to set up their classrooms.

"Every year I'm purchasing name tags, crayon boxes, arts and crafts," she said.

This year, a teacher in Texas named Courtney Jones set out to change that. She created Amazon "Teacher Gifting."

"It spread like wildfire on Facebook," says Jen Wursta, a 6th grade teacher at Gunning Bedford Middle School in New Castle, Delaware.

It works the same as any other kind of registry. Teachers set up a classroom wish list and anyone, anywhere can purchase something and send it directly to them.

"I think everyone who is participating is ecstatic about this movement," Wursta says.

Everything from basics like notebooks and crayons, to a new set of stools have already been gifted to Wursta's 6th grade classroom.

"That was really a touching surprise to receive," she says. "Easily there's $300 to $400 dollars worth of new materials and books that I didn't have to have to pay for. That's a huge weight lifted off of my shoulder ."

As Turk gets her kindergarten classroom ready, support is also pouring in from near and far.

She says this movement is also giving teachers a chance to connect and to get ideas from each other's lists.

"We are helping each other out," Turk says. "Knowing that in California, they are going to be using something that I purchased for them is amazing. It's making a difference throughout the country."

"All of the gifts come with a nice note saying things like: 'I hope your kids like these books' or 'thanks for doing an amazing job'," Wursta says. "I have never seen anything like this before and the generosity of people."

To help a teacher clear their lists, follow @support_a_teach on Twitter and find the teachers in your neighborhoods, search the hashtags: #ClearTheListNJ, #ClearTheListPA and #ClearTheListDE
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