Metro Detroit church trying to fill gap when teachers can't afford school supplies

Church in Shelby Township collecting donations

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) - Back-to-school isn’t just for the students, teachers are busy buying up supplies and preparing for the school year too.

The cost for teachers is soaring too — according to a recent Department of Education report, 94 percent of public school teachers are paying for supplies and never getting reimbursed. The average price of money spent on supplies per teacher ranges from $500 to $1,000, according to that same study.

“There’s been a lot of cuts in funding and there’s a trickle down,” said Michele Kuczera, a Shepherd’s Gate church member, and volunteer.

That’s why more and more groups are stepping up in an attempt to help. In Shelby Township, the Shepherd’s Gate Church is currently collecting donations from the community. The goal is to build “teacher baskets” with school supplies to give to teachers in the neediest of school districts.

“This was special to use because we want to reach out to the people who are impacting our community,” said Ron Kuczera.

The program is part of the church’s Step Out and Serve weekend happening August 25 and 26. In addition to giving away school supplies, they’ll also paint homes and fix up 30 community sites around metro Detroit. If you’d like to donate you can get in contact with the church by calling (586) 731-4544 or stopping by during regular business hours at their location on 23 Mile Road in Shelby Township.

They’re not the only ones working to fill the gap — a Michigan-based app developer, Crystal Evans, told 7 Action News she’s created an app to reimburse teachers for school supply purchases.

According to Evans, she’s already received a large donation to help get the app off the ground. There is also work going on behind-the-scenes to team up with a big box retailer to make the process easier — a pilot program is planned later this year in Northern Michigan. While an official launch date isn’t available yet, teachers are encouraged to keep an eye on the Supplies-N-Things website to see when it launches.

Until then work being done by groups like the one in Shelby Township at Shepherd’s Gate church will continue to work towards filling those gaps.

If you’d like to donate you can reach out to the church — they plan on delivering supplies later this month.

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