Summer is nearly over and Suddenlink and the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce are teaming up to help teachers gear up for the new school year.
The two, along with Walmart, Prime Time Athletics, the Hallmark Channel, Swire Coca-Cola, The Peaks Senior Living and Great Circle Media, are holding their annual Teacher Supply Drive noon to 5 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Needed supplies include copy paper, pens and pencils, glue sticks, sticky notes, tape, staplers and staples and tissues.
Donors can pick up a list of needed supplies at both of the Walmarts in Flagstaff, 2601 E. Huntington Drive or 2750 S. Woodlands Blvd., shop the store for those supplies they want to donate, purchase them and drop them into the donation carts. The Huntington Drive Walmart is offering prepackaged bags of school supplies for sale that donors can purchase. Donors can also offer money or purchase a hot dog lunch at the Coca-Cola food trailer parked outside. Lunch is $2 and includes a hot dog, soda and chips.
“It’s a fantastic community event,” said Nicole Benko from Suddenlink, who is in charge of this year’s event.
The event has been going on since 2012 when Lori Pappas, who now works for the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau, started it at Suddenlink. This is the first year Benko has operated the event.
“We start the process in January,” she said. The group meets once a month to make sure all of the partners are on board, research possible new partners and reach out to potential donors.
“It takes a lot of coordinating volunteers, partners and PTO members,” Benko said.
Walmart usually donates most of the supplies and often produces prepackaged bags of supplies that donors can purchase. Swire Coca-Cola is in charge of making and hanging the banners, and offers the use of a food trailer to sell hotdog meals during the event and a storage trailer for all of the donations. KAFF radio promotes the event. Prime Time, the Chamber, Flagstaff Unified School District and a representative from the local charter schools are in charge of gathering volunteers to help staff the event. FUSD also parks a school bus at the event to store donations. The donations are divided up later in the month and sent out to teachers at 28 schools in the area.
Last year, the group collected $20,000 to $25,000 in donations, said FUSD district relations coordinator Karin Eberhard. About $10,000 to $15,000 of that was in supplies; the rest was in monetary donations that were used to purchase more supplies such as copy paper. This year, the group is hoping for $30,000 in donations.
They’ve already collected $12,000 in donations from the Peaks Senior Living and the Hallmark Channel, Benko said.