This week, we are kicking off the WAAY 31 Days to Give.
WAAY 31, Toyota and the Rocket City Trash Pandas are raising money for three non-profit groups - Kids to Love, Free 2 Teach and HEALS. The groups have faced major challenges during the ongoing pandemic.
Thursday night, we focused on Free 2 Teach.
For more than ten years, the nonprofit has helped thousands of teachers, and tens of thousands of students in Madison County get the school supplies they need at no cost to them.
During this difficult year, this organization has proved a godsend, especially for one teacher who says she could not do her job without it.
“I truly am not being dramatic when I say it - I could not do my job without them,” Linda Hunziker said.
Hunziker, an art teacher at Challenger Middle School in Huntsville for 27 years now, remembers a time before Free 2 Teach when she, like so many teachers, would spend her own money to buy supplies for her classroom. She gets money from the district for art supplies, but inevitably, some of that money would be spent on basic necessities.
“And it kinda hurts sometimes to buy things like Post-it Notes when you want to buy something so much more enriching,” she said.
Thanks to Free 2 Teach, Hunziker doesn't have to worry about that anymore. She's able to come to the nonprofit, wander the aisles and pick up what she needs at no cost, and use her art money for art supplies.
“You know, I don’t ever have to spend my money on just basic classroom supplies. I can really budget to get the supplies I need,” she said.
Free 2 Teach proved invaluable in this year of coronavirus lockdowns and remote learning. Hunziker wasn't sure if she could keep her hands-on art classes going.
“I didn’t want to turn it into art history or art appreciation.”
So, she got creative.
With plenty of supplies from Free 2 Teach, she was able to make packets for all the projects for the first nine weeks.
“And stand outside for a week with colored pencils, markers, Sharpies, sketch books, water colors, and as the parents came to get the paper packets, I said, ‘what do you need?’" Hunziker said. “And I was able to keep my class hands-on, which in a virtual time, I have goose bumps. It makes a difference.”
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