‘Bag to School’ event to help teachers with school supplies

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

School starts in less than two weeks, and parents are scrambling to get their children’s supplies before the first day of classes.

So are teachers.

As most people are aware, a large number of public school teachers in this community reach into their own pockets every year to help stock their classrooms because budgetary limits will not allow them to receive what they would like to have, or feel they need, from the school system itself.

A group of business people in McDonough has decided to put a twist on the annual backpack drives that have helped needy students in recent years and sponsor a “Bag to School” event for teachers who would like a hand with supplies that they can use and also share with their own students.

“It amazed me when I was told that a teacher gets one case of copy paper a year, and that’s it,” said Jea Gackowski, who conceived this event and has gotten other locals on board.

She and some others went out last week and bought eight such cases, each with 5,000 sheets of paper, for about $250 at a local store. They got a check for that amount from a local realtor the day before, and a number of other businesses are contributing funds as well as in-kind donations.

The teachers’ bags will be filled with a variety of items, from pens and pencils to Wendy’s frosty coupons. “Sometimes that is just what a teacher needs at the end of the day,” Gackowski said with a chuckle.

Southern Grace Hospice has joined the effort and is helping put the bags together. They will be given out at Bow Tie Chef Cafe, 32 Macon Street on the southeast corner of the McDonough Square, next week during pre-planning between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day the week of July 24-28. Bags will be given out as long as they last to teachers with valid Henry County School System IDs.

The restaurant will also be providing a special discounted lunch for teachers, with a soft drink or tea and a dessert included in the $11 price.

Anyone wanting to help this cause can drop off paper or other school supplies at Gackowski’s office, 37 Griffin Street on the southwest corner of the Square, or the Bow Tie Chef Cafe.