BURLINGTON, NC -- The average public school teacher spends between $400 to $1,000 a year of their own money buying education supplies for their classrooms according to a recent study.
As budget cuts have gone into effect - the burden has gotten tougher.
A Burlington organization that helps teachers in Alamance County has reopened after flooding at its old location stopped operation for eight weeks.
The flooding happened in September while the Classroom Closet volunteers were packing up to relocate to 2377 Corporation Parkway in the Burlington Outlet Village.
Terri Stevens, the director, says a volunteer accidentally activated the sprinkler system during the moving process and the water destroyed nearly 30 percent of their merchandise.
"It was surreal," Stevens said. "I had a volunteer that had just walked in and said, 'OK, let's get it done today.' I said this is the last section we have to do and before I could get it out of my mouth the sprinkler system had gone off."
Stevens says volunteers stepped in with donations and labor to get the new store ready and now they are open for business.
"We have had so many people step up to the plate, it's crazy. I never expected the donations that have come in, the volunteers that have come in off the street," she said.
Among the volunteers is Bonnie McIntyre who has been with the organization since the old location.
"We love the new place, we just love the area and we love the store," McIntyre said. " I just believe in what they are doing here."
The store allows teachers to stock up on free classroom supplies four times a year with only $15 annual membership.
"I am glad it's all over because we are ready to get back in the swing. And the teachers couldn't be happier to have them back,' said Stevens. "[The teachers] were waiting. They needed supplies to carry on in their classrooms. This is all we're about. We just want the kids to have what they need."
The director says the Burlington Classroom Closet has given away more than $46,000 in supplies this year alone and more than half a million since it opened five years ago.
Stevens adds that there are only six teacher supply stores across the 100 counties in the state.
They rely on volunteers and donations so if you'd like to help Stevens says you can contact them at: 336-438-2027.
Open Tues. Wed, 3:30-6:00 and one Saturday a month
WFMY News 2