Aurora High School teacher turns to social media to get school supplies for students

Samantha Chatman Image
Friday, August 19, 2022
Aurora HS teacher turns to social media to get school supplies
An Aurora High School teacher posted her Amazon Wishlist for school supplies on Instagram to help get what her students need.

AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- It seems like almost everything is more expensive and that includes school supplies.

A lot of teachers are feeling the pinch from inflation. But one educator in Aurora found a way to get her back-to-school list cleared using social media.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from June 2021 to June 2022,

-Apparel is up by 5.2%

-Musical instruments are up by 5.6%

-Stationary is up by 8%

-Sports equipment is up by 8%

-Paper products are up by 9.4%

Aurora High School teacher Michelle Demar said she's grateful for the support of her school, but she can't help but dig into her own pocket to make sure every student in her class has what they need.

This year, however, she's run into some roadblocks.

"There's like a shortage of markers and a shortage of glue sticks, so, it's not even just the price going up," Demar said. "It's being able to get your hands on the things that you need for the amount of students you have."

Determined not to let these challenges stop her, Demar said she decided to get creative with the help of Amazon and Instagram.

"One of my girlfriends told me there were some Instagram influencers that were clearing out teachers' Amazon Wishlists, like buying every single thing on their list," she said. "Why not give it a shot?

So she loaded up her Amazon cart, posted it on Instagram and tagged influencers.

"One day I came home and there were boxes and boxes on our stoop," she said.

Boxes and boxes of school supplies! Demar said people from all over, even friends she hasn't seen for years, helped clear her list.

"I was like 'Wow, I need to add more things on here!'" she said. "It was such an amazing feeling."

Teachers across the Chicago area said posting their Wishlist to social media has been a game changer.

Another helpful resource that teachers keep raving about is SCARCE. It's a non-profit organization that collects school supplies both new and used.

Scarce allows teachers from all over the Chicago area to come to their warehouse and load up on supplies for just $5 a box.

"They put whatever they want in the box: pens, pencils, markers, crayons, STEAM and STEM supplies, art supplies, books," Bev Jaszczurowski, SCARCE chief operating, said. "Historically, teachers have spent a lot of their own money buying things for their classroom. They have kids who aren't having food at home, so they're not going to come with new pencils and crayons so they come here."

The organization has been around for 32 years, rescuing school supplies all over the country, to help teachers in our area.

A community effort that teachers like Ms. Demar, whose number one goal is to help her students feel confident and prepared for back-to-school.