One month ago a powerful tornado marched across Guilford and Rockingham counties. Several homes and businesses were in the storm's path.
Three Guilford County schools were also hammed by the tornado. Teachers at Erwin Montessori, Hampton Elementary and Peeler Elementary lost everything. So over the past month, teachers and students are relying on the Teacher Supply Warehouse for help.
"The past month has been like no other month we've seen in Greensboro or GEA," Guilford Education Alliance Executive Director Winston McGregor said.
The Guilford Education Alliance oversees the busy Teacher Supply Warehouse. Donations are pouring in as individuals and community groups come together to supply the three tornado-damaged schools classroom supplies.
"I think the response has been amazing," McGregor said. "It does demonstrate the community really cares about public schools and respects our teachers."
Jamye Bridges knows teachers that lost everything to the tornado. She organized a donation drive with her sorority and with several Piedmont community groups so teachers and students can get basic items they need.
"I was really pleased at the response to our call," Bridges said. "Pleased how our efforts multiplied and we are grateful to everyone who donated."
Dr. Deborah Parker is the principal of Erwin Montessori. Due to the tornado, the school is now sharing space at Alamance Elementary in Greensboro. Parker believes the Teacher Supply Warehouse is an incredible resource for her teachers and students. Teachers can sign up for times to go to the warehouse and pick up items for free. And with a warehouse packed with classroom tools, Parker said contributions from the community make a positive impression on students.
"One our big points is a focus on character education," Parker said. "We are seeing the true character of people coming forward. It's a great lesson for our children and families to see."
But Bridges reminds us that contributions and donations to the Teacher Supply Warehouse must continue.
"It's a marathon not a sprint. We appreciate the response. We want that energy to continue because we have a long road to recovery ahead of us," Bridges said.
Guilford Education Alliance is determined to keep the school supply drives going. McGregor said the need is great and a full warehouse could empty quickly.
"It's our intent to hold people's attention. They made their intentions clear that they want kids to have the supplies they need and teachers in the classroom teaching," McGregor said.
School supply contributions have come from local and statewide sources. A school district in Florida has even donated $2,000 for classroom needs.
To see how you can assist tornado impacted schools, click here.