North Carolina Teachers Often Spend More Than $500 on Classroom Supplies. Here’s How to Help. 

Students return for their first day of classes at Barwell Road Elementary School in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, July 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

By Michael McElroy

August 22, 2022

With 1.4 million kids returning to the state’s public schools this week and next, the need is great. Here’s a guide for how to get and for how to give help. 

To the lament of children and delight of their parents, summer break is over. North Carolina public schools are back in session starting this week and next, and children across the state are heading back to new routines and new possibilities. 

But for many parents, it can be a stressful time. A new school year means new school supplies, and necessities like pencils, paper and notebooks can add up. They are not cheap.

And it is not just the parents who struggle. 

Teachers often spend their own money on school supplies for their students, sometimes more than $500, Gov. Roy Cooper’s office says.

Since North Carolina’s teachers are among the most underpaid in the country, that’s a lot of money.

In August, Gov. Cooper started a “Governor’s School Supply Drive,” to encourage people to donate school supplies across the state. 

“While you’re out shopping, consider buying some extra school supplies to donate,” Gov. Cooper said in a press release announcing the drive. “Our teachers work so hard, and they shouldn’t have to dip into their pockets to cover the cost of classroom supplies that their students need.”

The governor’s drive is in concert with the NC State Employees’ Credit Union and Communities In Schools of North Carolina, so you can drop off supplies at credit union branches. The donations will be distributed to schools throughout the state. 

There are many other ways to give help, and get it, as students across the state return to the classroom.

Here are the organizations and groups collecting supplies:

The NC Foundation for Public School Children:

New Vision Outreach Worship Center, Kinston, NC (252) 523-0303

The United Way of Asheville and Buncombe Counties.

Helping Hand Mission, Raleigh: 

Durham County teachers can contact Crayons2Calculators for help with supplies. 

NC Association of Educators, (919) 832-3000

Many Staples and Office Depot locations also have school supply drives at the start of the school year, so reach out to your local stores to check.


  • Michael McElroy

    Michael McElroy is Cardinal & Pine's political correspondent. He is an adjunct instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a former editor at The New York Times.

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