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How You Can Help Teachers and Students Safely Return to School

COVID-19 has changed the way we think about entering public spaces. Before 2020, most people didn’t have a problem with walking into a room full of people. But now, that same scenario will give many people a moment of pause.

Schools are reopening and our children are entering the classroom. This time of year always has a certain degree of need. Teachers frequently pay out of their own pockets to cover the gaps in necessary supplies and materials. And many students enter the classroom unable to afford these supplies.

This has led to certain organizations and donation drives to help remove the burden from teachers and students.

Supporting teachers and classrooms has never been more pressing than it is this year. Classrooms will still need pencils, pens, folders, and everything else they need every year. However, they will also need supplies to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.


As we said, school teachers often need help to furnish their classrooms. And many students aren’t able to procure the proper tools they need to participate in school.

This is where PENCIL comes in. They are a local organization that works with students and teachers in more than 93 schools throughout the Nashville area to provide essential materials.

PENCIL partners with local businesses, faith-based organizations, universities, and more to bolster the efforts of school districts and give everybody access to the education they deserve. 

There are many different programs that help them work toward this goal. One such program is the LP Pencil Box program that offers essential supplies directly to teachers and students.

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This is one of the best ways you can directly support your local teachers. This program creates a free store for teachers and students to visit and get the supplies they need. As stated on the PENCIL website:

Since 48% of MNPS students come from economically disadvantaged households, the LP PENCIL Box is the community's way to ensure that every student has quality supplies no matter their economic background. As donors, volunteers, teachers and PENCIL work together, thousands of students in Nashville have the tools they need for success.

This program takes direct donations from individuals, donation drives, and businesses.

Needed Supplies

School teachers need to be ready for anything. The supplies they keep stocked in their classrooms go beyond what you might expect — writing utensils, notebooks, and folders. In fact, here is the list of most needed items:

  • Pencils
  • Clorox Wipes/Sanitizing Wipes
  • Construction Paper
  • Ziplock Bags
  • Tissue Boxes
  • Paper Towels
  • Marker Packs
  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Composition Books
  • Math Tools (Calculator, Compass, Protractor)

But this is just the beginning. The list of potential items to be donated is quite long. View the list of accepted new and gently-used items here.

Keep in mind that they are going to need cleaning products along with the standard school supplies this year. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes are going to be in particularly high demand, as they will need to be used multiple times every day.

Donate Directly

The easiest way to get involved is to donate directly to the LP PENCIL Box program. This can be done by shopping from the above list and bringing the items into the LP PENCIL Box location at:

7199 Cockrill Bend Blvd

Nashville, TN 37209

Keep in mind that an appointment will need to be made in order to drop the items off. Contact Joel Wright to schedule an appointment each week from Monday to Thursday.


You can still help if you don’t have extra funds to purchase these items yourself. PENCIL took in more than $1.44 million worth of supplies last school year. This is a lot of material to inventory, process, and categorize. Extra hands are always needed to properly sort the materials so teachers can find the items they need.

Simply sign up to volunteer your time to help get the LP PENCIL Box ready to supply members of the local school district.

Keep in mind that all CDC guidelines relating to COVID-19 safety protocols will need to be followed while volunteering. This includes wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and maintaining strict sanitary standards.

Host a Supply Drive

Another way you can help out is to host a supply drive of your own. This is a great option for area businesses that want to help out. Simply reach out to this email address and state your interest in hosting a supply drive for LP PENCIL Box.

You’ll receive instructions and have the opportunity to ask questions about how the process works.

Area schools are going to have a particularly tough year due to COVID-19. Removing a potential source of concern for both teachers and students can make a huge difference. Consider donating these essential materials today.

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