The mission of Baltimore Teacher Supply Swap is to provide access to educational materials for teachers and students.
We bridge the gap between educators who need instructional materials and people who have instructional materials they don’t need.
In your head, imagine a classroom. What do you see? The walls are decorated to create a welcoming learning environment. The teacher is drawing on the board with chalk. Students are writing in notebooks with pencils, or using hands-on tools to understand math, or looking through magnifying glasses to learn science. Unfortunately, not many classrooms in Baltimore look like this because our school system is unable provide supplies like chalk, notebooks, and pencils. Classrooms that have these supplies only do so because teachers spend their own paychecks on them.
As a former Baltimore City teacher, our founder Melissa Badeker experienced the struggle of working in a school system unable to provide adequate classroom supplies. Every year Melissa spent her money on supplies to fill this void—some years over a thousand dollars.
When Melissa left the teaching profession, she wanted to repurpose her teaching materials; however, there were no existing methods for her to give them to another teacher who needed them. This is when the vision of Baltimore Teacher Supply Swap was born.
Teachers face tremendous pressure to meet high demands without the supplies necessary to do so. Many teachers experience the burden of spending more than $600 of their own money each year on supplies, but still don’t have enough to fully support their students. The problem is getting worse as school budgets continue to be slashed.
Budget cuts are especially troublesome in lower-income neighborhoods, where parents might not have enough money to pay for school supplies. Students sometimes walk into school at a disadvantage because they do not have the learning tools they need.
Educators have extra supplies when they leave the classroom, switch grade levels, or have too much. Other individuals have art supplies, office supplies, toys, and games around their homes and offices. These materials sit unused in storage or are thrown away.
The Baltimore Teacher Supply Swap equips teachers, schools, and educational programs with classroom supplies to help students learn. We do this by collecting materials that people no longer need and distributing them to those who need them. Our programmatic costs are offset through individual contributions and through selling highly-valued donations online.