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Omaha educators rely on wishlists, community support for supplies: 'There’s always something that we need'

Inflation and supply chain issues have made it tougher for educators to prep for back-to-school
Posted at 7:12 PM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 20:12:27-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV)  — Kathleen Matthews is no stranger to the back-to-school rush for supplies.

"There’s always something that we need for our classroom," Matthews said.

The former teacher turned counselor said she has the traditional classroom staples and is now in search of more specific items such as books, and stickers that appeal to her students.

Matthews is one of the many educators locally and beyond relying on wishlists to help her get ready for the classroom.

Lists of items educators need are shared with the public and generous donors either buy or find the item on teacher’s lists.

They’ve been around a while but with recent challenges, Matthews said her list has been a real help.

"Having those little bit of extras is more expensive, she said. "Being able to provide those year to year is still important."

Outside of wishlists, there’s more support for teachers. Urban Abbey, a church tied to a coffee shop downtown is currently collecting supplies for Liberty Elementary School.

"Liberty Elementary is an amazing school and they work so hard," said Rev. Debra McKnight, a pastor. "We want to do whatever we can to add extra support for the teachers."

Mcknight said helping teachers is personal.

"My mom was on the school board. I know how hard it is and how important it is."

Meanwhile, Matthews said the support from generous donors is rewarding.

"It’s warming that people are still willing to give and it reminds us that we’re still important to the community," said Matthews.

Donations of school supplies are still being accepted at the Urban Abbey. The coffee shop is accepting dry erase markers, Ticonderoga pencils and glitter pens.

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