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Cash-Strapped Teachers Finding Financial Support Online

Brett Blume
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This 5th grade classroom at Airport Elementary School in St. Louis County is among hundreds locally that have benefitted from posting their classroom needs at www.donorschoose.org. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

This 5th grade classroom at Airport Elementary School in St. Louis County is among hundreds locally that have benefitted from posting their classroom needs at http://www.donorschoose.org. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) –  Facing budget cuts and looming sequestration, Nicole Binion was desperate to find money for some badly-needed raw teaching materials for her 5th grade class at Airport Elementary in the Ferguson-Florissant School District.

“My (classroom) library was so small and so flimsy with me purchasing books on my own, which is very few,” Binion points out. “So with this organization I’m so happy they were able to donate the books to me.”

She’s referring to a website called www.DonorsChoose.org, which matches up teachers in need with people willing to partially fund the books, computers, art supplies and other basic classroom elements that have been lost to budget cuts.

That’s where Carl Reed, owner of the Carl Reed Agency of Horace Mann Insurance in Florissant, saw Binion’s posting and decided to act.

“The beauty of it is that you have people all over the country who are willing to donate to projects for classrooms in the public school system,” Reed says.

Shortly after Reed jumped in and made a donation, a big box showed up at Binion’s classroom — inside were 75 brand new books like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Charlotte’s Web”.

Binion says it was like a second Christmas for her eager-to-read students.

“They were the first ones to open the box, and they wanted to label all of the books and they put them on the shelves,” she recalls. “They were like ‘Can we read these books, can we pick them out now?’.”

Binion’s among nearly 300 St. Louis area public school teachers who have received donations totaling more than $218,000, which in turn are funding 440 classroom projects locally.

Founded in 2000, www.DonorsChoose.org is a non-profit website where public school teachers can provide detailed descriptions about exactly what it is they need for their students, and donors can choose the projects they want to support.

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