Karen Calder, executive director of Classroom Central, spoke with Domtar about this innovative idea.
How did ClassVroom Central get started?
We noticed that many of the schools and teachers that are eligible to participate in our Free Store program weren’t utilizing it. When we dug deeper into the data, we learned that many of them have late release bells. That, coupled with distance and rush-hour traffic, meant they simply couldn’t get to us. ClassVroom Central, the Mobile Free Store, now allows us to go directly to them, ensuring no student will miss out on the opportunity to receive the supplies they need to succeed in school.
What do you hope to accomplish with ClassVroom Central?
Ultimately, our goal is to serve the 42 schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) district and 94 other eligible schools that are located in the surrounding districts. This will happen over the course of a couple of years as we phase in the program and add new schools. In addition, our goal is to use this truck as a school supply–drive vehicle to encourage the community to donate supplies that can be given to area schools in need. We will begin placing it around the community over the summer when buying school supplies is top of mind.
How do you determine which schools would benefit most from ClassVroom Central?
Any school in our partner districts that has 50 percent or more of its students qualifying for subsidized lunches and is physically located more than nine miles from our Free Store can use ClassVroom Central. We will serve 16 schools from CMS next year, as well as 94 additional schools outside of CMS.
How do you keep the truck stocked with supplies?
The truck is stocked with supplies that have primarily been donated, as well as purchased with contributed funds. We are excited about the possibilities of this program, but also know that it will require a tremendous amount of increased community support to make sure that we can keep “trucking.” The truck is so large that it doubles our capacity in terms of the number of teachers, schools and students that we can reach weekly. Our goal is to make sure that our supply and financial donations increase to allow us to continuously keep it stocked and on the road.