Neighborhood rallies behind Charlotte elementary school on first day, donating hundreds of supplies


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – The first day of class was extra special for more than 600 students at Windsor Park Elementary, who had not only teachers waiting for them, but brand new school supplies. Neighbors in Windsor Park spent that last few weeks of summer collecting school supplies for those who may not be able to afford them.

Weeks before the official return to school, the planning begins and typically money is spent out of teachers own pockets.

“Realistically before the neighborhood came and helped I was spending close to $1,000 on our students and I would say that is pretty average. It adds up every single week because you want to buy your kids what they deserve,” said Community Liaison and Technology Facilitator, Paris Speight.

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Public schools like Windsor Park Elementary give all kids a chance at a deserving education. As a title one school of about 650 students, not everyone can afford the price of school supplies. Neighbors have jumped in to help before focusing on teachers and students.

“Really during the pandemic it kinda hit the next level, as in they really wanted to honor teachers during the teacher of the year celebration,” said Speight.

The focus moved back to the students this summer. School supplies were collected at the neighborhood urban farm as well as in a box outside the school. The donations made it inside the school and onto supply shelves before students arrived for the first day.

Neighbors also collected monetary donations that can be used for things other than the typical pencils and notebooks.

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“When those donations come in for school supplies and for the basic needs of our kids then we can use those funds to extend what they get, so they can get recorders,” said music teacher, Marina Scott-Lopez.

Scott-Lopez says instruments are expensive, but the generosity of the neighbors is something she hasn’t seen at other community schools.

“The parents are super invested and even though they can’t contribute as much with money, they will do anything for their kids and the community support is just so much higher,” said Scott-Lopez.

Teachers say the need right now is for donated Apple chargers to use for Apple notebooks and iPads used as part of curriculum. Neighbors plan to keep the donations coming throughout the school year.

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