SAN MARCOS — The Teacher Reuse, a local non-profit that provides teachers with free school supplies, reopened July 22 at a new location in San Marcos.
Inspired by The Wellman Project, former teacher, Shelly O’Donnell started the non-profit organization in August 2022. It’s a place where teachers and community members can donate supplies they no longer use, and a place where teachers can pick up free classroom supplies if they need them.
“We’re just a big hub,” O’Donnell said. “We just collect the supplies that teachers no longer need and get them back out to teachers that do.”
From beginning this journey at a small building in Hays Consolidated Independent School District in August 2022, following a relocation to 3700 Kyle Crossing in November 2022, the Teacher Reuse has officially partnered with the City of San Marcos to move to a new space at 1040 TX HWY 123.
“The City of San Marcos was very generous,” Teacher Reuse volunteer Cheryl Gillmore said. “The neighborhood enhancement group gave us some space in a warehouse on 123.”
Free materials are provided to any current public or charter school employees regardless of location. Teachers will need to either upload their school IDs online or bring them in person the first time they shop.
The Teacher Reuse has assisted multiple school districts all over Central Texas, including San Marcos CISD, and Comal, Round Rock, San Antonio and New Braunfels ISDs.
“You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can never take the classroom out of a teacher, so I really wanted to stay in that mode of education in some way or another,” O’Donnell said.
The non-profit served 900 teachers from 29 school districts in its first year, according to O’Donnell.
“And then for that one year, August 2022 to August 1 of 2023, we saved teachers about $120,000,” O’Donnell said. “It was amazing. We never thought it would be that big.”
The supplies that teachers can pick up include toys, pencils, pens, posters, games, books and other organizational materials teachers can use in a classroom.
“As a teacher, I knew that it’s not just about teaching students, but it’s about supporting each other,” O’Donnell said.
Although there is slow progress, O’Donnell has high hopes for this non-profit organization to help as many teachers as possible.
“We have a goal of by the end of the 2025 school year, we would save teachers $1 million,” O’Donnell said. “We know that the schools have funds for supplies, but we also know that they’re limited, and we want to be there to supplement whatever teachers are finding that they pay for out of pocket.”
“In this area and San Marcos, there’s a lot of students because of Texas State University and there are volunteer opportunities that are requirements in classrooms,” O’Donnell said. “Once they see what the organization is doing, hopefully, they would want to continue volunteering and maybe get into education in some way or another.”
Students would not only be helping teachers but the entire community.
“I think everybody should strive to be part of community however they can whatever little step they can take just because it ties us together and makes our nation stronger,” Gillmore said.
To learn how you can help, click here.
Written by: Preethi Mangadu