It’s Getting Better All the Time!
Over the past several years, the month of August meant last days of summer were approaching and that free school supplies for BCPS educators would be provided to collect for students in need. The success of this once a year event continued to grow from its first year of inception at Pulaski Highway where a few hundred teachers received free school supplies, to last year’s well attended event at Boscov’s, White Marsh Mall where over 800 teachers registered to attend the Back to School Involves You, Too! Tools for School Campaign. Last year approximately 50 pallets of community donated school supplies were sorted, stocked, bagged and distributed by hundreds of volunteers.
What many may not know is that once the event was over and the month of September approached, community partners continued to give, providing additional school supplies for BCPS students. The Education Foundation of BCPS who hosted the school supply drive was left with an abundance of materials, which is a good problem to have. The question was, how to store, inventory and distribute the additional school supplies as donations continued to roll in.
At the first board meeting of the year, the foundation’s president, Mr. Tim Bojanowski communicated the situation to its board members. Before the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Scott Dorsey, president of Merritt Companies provided a solution. A storefront, now known as The Exchangeree, was established and made its debut at its Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on December 19, 2018. The public was invited to the Grand Opening in January 2019.
The Exchangeree is a year round, collaborative teacher center located in Windsor Mill, Maryland, operated by The Education Foundation of BCPS, Inc. Now teachers can collect free school supplies for their students at this permanent location year round. We hope to serve more teachers, exceeding the limitations of last year’s one day event, and sustain the call for much needed school supplies all year. Teachers can shop at The Exchangeree by registering through an Eventbrite link found on the foundation’s Web site. (Look for future details in the Weekly Bulletin distributed by Baltimore County Public Schools.)
To date, over $14,000 in school supplies have been distributed to over 80 educators through pilot programs during the months of April, May, June, and July of 2019. In addition, The Exchangeree has served as a resource center called The Hub, providing a learning experience for BCPS teachers in partnership with Microsoft, a collaborative space for the center’s Round Table Committee and meeting place for the foundation’s Advisory Council. Additionally, the foundation has been collecting books through Books for Bins, to help supply books for classroom libraries, students and teachers, supporting literacy. Finally, as the warm summer days change toward the chilling days of autumn and winter; hats, gloves and scarves are being collected through the Share the Warmth campaign.
Join us as we celebrate the growth of the foundation’s school supply campaign. It has evolved into a collaborative resource center where the community can contribute through time, talent and treasure and our educators can find support for educational readiness year round. You can learn more about The Exchangeree by visiting the foundation’s web site. We are in full stride of this year’s school supply drive, Tools for School! where collections are being made at several countywide drop-off locations. You can also still host a school supply drive at your organization or attend the events listed below to join in on the summer fun. We hope to see you there!
Tools for School Campaign Summer Events
July 30, 2019: Stuff the Bus at the Pikesville Farmers’ Market at Pomona Square, 1700 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
August 15, 2019: Stuff the Bus at the Towson Farmers’ Market, W. Pennsylvania Ave., Towson from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
August 17, 2019: Towson University Community Movie Night, Johnny Unitas Stadium, Towson from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Movie is Aladdin)
August 22, 2019: Rally for Educators at Towson Town Center, 825 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
August 22, 2019: Rally for Educators at White Marsh Mall, White Marsh, from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.