Essentials for Kids

school suppliesIn response to the chronic underfunding of public education nationwide, as well as the recent catastrophic effects of Hurricane Harvey on Texas Gulf Coast schools, the AFT, First Book and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation have created the Essentials for Kids fund. This dual-purpose fund will provide educators and their students in need across the country with high-quality books, classroom resources and basic supplies, such as hygiene products and clothing, from the First Book Marketplace where items are 50 to 90 percent below retail rates.

Specific funds also are being earmarked for educators affected by Hurricane Harvey. In addition, children's books are being distributed to sites serving as shelters for those who have been displaced, in coordination with first responders.

Essentials for Kids is seeded with $200,000, including the initial $75,000 donation from the AFT and $75,000 from the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, with additional funding from Coca-Cola and individual donors. The AFT has set aside $25,000 specifically for AFT local affiliates and educators affected by Hurricane Harvey, and 100 percent of the Bush Foundation funds will be designated to help rebuild classroom libraries and provide other resources for Houston-area educators affected by the hurricane. You can also make a donation to help educators, which will help them now and when they need to restock their classrooms later.

AFT members serving Title I or Title I-eligible schools or programs can receive up to $150 in credits to spend on the First Book Marketplace, which offers such resources as brand-new, low-cost books, hygiene kits, sports equipment, and clothing.

Non-AFT members can receive up to $100. Money will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until the fund is depleted.

Educators affected by Hurricane Harvey can receive up to $200 in credits until the fund is exhausted.

Funds will be available starting the week of Sept. 11.