In 2008, retired autoworker John Mika started the first day of his new job as a substitute teacher in Buffalo by asking his third graders to take out their pencils for a writing assignment. To his surprise, only 3 of the 27 students had pencils. “Nobody had paper either,” said Mika. “These kids were struggling.”
Mika and Kingdom Bound Ministries help make an organization called WNY Shares happen; its “The Teacher’s Desk,” a school supplies store in Buffalo where everything is free, is available for Buffalo-area teachers to come and shop! Over 1 million dollars in school supplies have been shared with schools and after school programs throughout Western New York. Director John Mika was honored nationally on The Steve Harvey Show for the good work he and all the volunteers do in the Buffalo area. You can also read about this good stuff happening in Buffalo in People magazine!
The Teacher’s Desk is designed to be a place of encouragement for teachers as well as a resource center for school supplies for students in need.
Who can Shop?
Teachers having classroom space at schools with a 70% or greater student participation in the National School Lunch Program are welcome to shop for free at The Teacher’s Desk.
What are we shopping for?
Basic school supplies and items every classroom can use. Each teacher receives on average $500 in free supplies for their classroom.
When can we shop?
The Principal or Teacher’s Desk liaison at participating schools will notify teachers in advance of their free shopping day. Once teachers receive approval they simply visit The Teacher’s Desk on a day they are scheduled to shop.
What if our school is not yet participating?
If your WNY pre-K – 8th school has 70% or more of its students participating in Federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program and you have not yet been invited to shop at The Teacher’s Desk, please contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s located at 22 Northampton St., and you can call 716-348-3412 or visit www.wnyshares.org.