For the past 12 years, a group of Denver-area retired teachers has been helping local schools with supplies. This year’s donation provided an extra dose of crayons, pencils and paper to students at Betty Adams Elementary School in Westminster.
The leader of the endeavor is Barb Jacobson, who taught in Jeffco Public Schools. She said she had a lot of friends who were retired and could easily afford to pitch in some money for school supplies. What started with just a few friends has grown to a group of 20.
“We go to a different school each year, and it’s based on the number of kids who qualify for free-and-reduced lunches so we know that the supplies are going somewhere needed,” she said. “I know there are plenty of people out there in need who just can’t afford supplies, so that’s where we come in.”
Each person gives $50, and then the group meets for breakfast to formulate a plan of attack, followed by a trip to Walmart to purchase the supplies. The group then heads to the school to deliver the supplies.
Jacobson said this year the group was able to deliver $1,100 worth of school supplies, which she hopes can make a difference for the teachers and the students.
“It’s so important for kids to be able to start the school year with everything they need to be successful,” she said. “And we know that teachers out there are spending their own money too, so we want to be a support for them as well.”
Jacobson works with the Jefferson Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the district in preparing students for a successful future, to choose the school each year. Katie Tiernan, executive director of the Jefferson Foundation, said many times it’s the schools that have recently seen an increase in poverty levels that are chosen. She said in the past families in these schools had been able to buy school supplies, but because of the economy can no longer afford the cost.
“The reason we chose Betty Adams this year is because it’s a gap school, meaning the school has a significant number of students who qualify for free-and-reduced lunches, but doesn’t have enough of those students to qualify for additional federal funding,” Tiernan said. “This donation is a great help for families who are in a difficult position.”
Tiernan said one of the best parts about the effort made by the group is that Jacobson and her friends take care of everything. All the district and the foundation have to do is provide the list of supplies.
“They do everything. They purchase the supplies and deliver them,” she said. “They don’t ask us to do anything, they are just doing this for the kids out of the kindness of their hearts.”