It’s not uncommon to see panhandlers holding cardboard signs at busy intersections, but drivers rarely see teachers asking for handouts.
A 3rd grade teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma made headlines this week when she stood by the road with a handwritten sign that read “Teacher Needs School Supplies! Anything Helps Thank You.” Teresa Danks, like many other elementary school teachers, spends between $2,000 and $3,000 of her own money every year on school supplies. After serious budget cuts gutted the public school system, more and more teachers have started reaching in their own pocket to make sure their students aren’t left behind.
“It all adds up week after week and month after month,” Danks said in an interview with local Fox affiliate Fox 23 News. “So, it’s a huge need.”
Compared to other states, Oklahoma ranks near the bottom of teachers’ salaries with Danks making barely $35,000 a year. After spending as much of her own money as she could afford, Danks decided to make a statement and started panhandling.
“We are begging,” Danks said. “We don’t want to call it that, but this kind of shows it is. It’s sad, but it’s where we’re at.”
In just six minutes standing at the corner near 193rd East Avenue and I-44, Danks made $55. That’s more than double what she makes in an hour as a teacher.
Danks was overwhelmed with emotion as more and more drivers pulled over to lend a hand. She hopes statements like this will help raise awareness to the serious budget crisis in Oklahoma. Most citizens are completely unaware of the problem. Danks reached out through social media asking for donations. She left the following message along with a supply list,
With more budget cuts to our schools, I am in need of some help. If you already have, would be willing to save up for me, donate or sell cheaply for the 2017-18 school year it would be greatly appreciated. Just comment if you are able to help.
Thanks so much.
- Any and all things crafty:
- Egg cartons
- Paper towel/toilet paper rolls
- Old, leftover party paper plates
- Pipe cleaners
- Broken costume jewelry
- Craft wire
- Silk flowers
- Plastic water bottles
- Gallon size plastic jugs
- Sewing needles/Thread
- Fabric pieces
- Cotton balls/Pom Poms
- Safety pins
- Stencils (letters & pictures)
- Stamp pads
- Large felt board
- Sandwich bags
- Treasure box single wrap candy
- Single electric hot burner
- Board games and card games for ages 6+
- Big Joe black bean bag chair
- Yoga balls
- Small dorm size refrigerator
- Small microwave
If you would like to contact Danks to lend your support, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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