Our Opinion: Wilson can make school supply drive a smashing success

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A Wilson business is going the extra mile to help Wilson County schoolteachers stock their classrooms with supplies — and it’s an effort we can all pitch in to support.

Brewmasters has begun its third annual Adopt-A-Classroom drive and is inviting customers and community members to fulfill a teacher’s wish list. Items range from pencils, paper and dry-erase markers to tablet computers, a color printer and a vacuum cleaner.

Molly Youssef, a teacher who owns Brewmasters with her husband Morkos, started the school supply drive as a way to reach out to her fellow educators — and by extension, the thousands of children whose minds they mold.

“Teaching is a difficult job, but if you don’t have resources to do interesting lessons and try and get the kids involved and engaged, it’s an even more impossible task,” Youssef told the Times’ Olivia Neeley for a story in Tuesday’s edition.

The average American teacher spent roughly $500 on classroom supplies in 2015, according to an Education Market Association survey, and a tenth of all teachers shelled out $1,000 or more.

Many classes need the bare necessities like crayons, colored pencils, composition notebooks, folders, erasers and the like. Since illness can spread quickly and young children are particularly susceptible, disinfectant wipes, tissues and hand soap are popular requests. Several physical education coaches need sports equipment.

Some wish-list items are meant to motivate and inspire students. One teacher asked for college pennants — from the Atlantic Coast Conference schools many of us root for to historically black colleges and universities and Ivy League institutions — “to create a college-bound atmosphere all around Hunt High School.”

Last year, the Wilson community spent roughly $10,000 on the project. We’d like to see that mark far exceeded in 2017.

Brewmasters collected 240 teacher wish lists from all corners of the county this year. Teachers aren’t listed by name, but most provide their school, grade and subject so supporters can direct purchased supplies to the right place.

Take a few minutes to peruse the wish lists, which are combined in a Google document here —http://goo.gl/iSccA7. You’ll see nearly as many heartfelt expressions of gratitude as requests for supplies.

“Thank you so much for your caring hearts and generosity,” one teacher writes.

“You are greatly appreciated,” a fifth-grade science teacher chimes in. “You are a blessing to our students and teachers.”

“Thank you for the opportunity to apply for this donation to our classroom,” a second-grade teacher shares. “Your giving, whether it’s my classroom or not, benefits our future — our children, and for that, I am truly grateful.”

Participants can deliver the items directly to the schools or drop them off at Brewmasters. The restaurant, bar and craft beer bottle shop is also donating 20 percent of all its sales this Saturday to the effort.

Generosity has long been a hallmark of Wilson County’s civic identity. If hundreds of us commit to doing what we can, our combined efforts will make a dramatic difference in the lives of local educators and the students they teach.