Finding free school supplies for teachers is challenging, but not impossible. And though it may be a bit of work, it's certainly worth it. Especially since tight school budgets often cause teachers to dip into their pockets for school supplies.
According to My eLearning World, teachers spend an average $820 of their own money a year on school supplies. That’s $68.33 a month, which we all know can make a huge difference these days with food prices and gas prices at record levels. To help reduce this burden, we searched for and found several organizations and resources that give free stuff to teachers.
From back-to-school season to teacher appreciation week near the end of the school year, these back-to-school teacher freebies will help teachers all year long. Along with these tips for free supplies, Michaels, Target, and Dollar General offer discounts exclusively for teachers. So even if you do need to spend out of pocket, you can at least score a deal on the classroom essentials.
For more smart shopping tips and savings hacks, download the KCL app or text HACKS to 57299.
1. Register For Colgate Classroom Kits for Kindergarten & First Grade Teachers
Colgate is once again offering the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program which donates classroom kits to help teach good oral care. These free kits come with storybooks, posters, and Colgate toothpaste and toothbrush samples for 24 kindergarten or first-grade students.
To register, simply visit Colgate.com and fill out the request form now before they close the registration.
2. Kids In Need Foundation Supply A Teacher Program provides teachers with free school supplies.
Kids In Need Foundation provides teachers with school supplies for free through their Supply A Teacher Foundation Program. Teachers working in schools with 50% or more students enrolled in the National School Lunch Program may apply for a Supply A Teacher box. Each box is based on grade level and contains enough supplies for 24 students, which may include:
Teacher applications are accepted year-round, and whether you’re teaching in the classroom or through distance learning doesn’t matter.
3. Adopt A Classroom donates free school supplies to teachers.
For grades PreK – 12, public, private, or charter school teachers can register with Adopt A Classroom and create a Classroom Fundraising page to connect to their network of donors. Through the School Program at Adopt A Classroom, schools receive funds that they can spend on bulk school supplies through their online marketplace. Both programs require teachers or school administrators to thank donors within 90 days of receiving donations.
We have more ways to get students free back-to-school supplies.
4. Donors Choose allows teachers to create a crowdfunding campaign for school supplies.
Donors Choose is a crowdfunding platform specifically made for teachers and schools. Educators must register for a Donors Choose account to get free school supplies. Once registered, you can create a project with information, like what materials you need, the grade level you teach, the number of students, and how the donation would make a difference in your classroom.
You can request school supplies from various categories, including digital resources, basic supplies, special needs, furniture, and technology.
Donors Choose will handle the purchase and shipping of supplies right to the teacher’s classroom or home (if your school has delivery issues) when a donation goal is reached.
5. School House Supplies offers Portland-area teachers free school supplies.
Portland, Oregon teachers in the following school districts can shop at the School House Supplies Free Store for Teachers.
Centennial School District
David Douglas School District
Parkrose School District
Portland Public Schools
Gresham-Barlow School District
Reynolds School District
Teachers shop at the free store and bring the supplies back to their classrooms and students. To be eligible, schools must have 50% or more students qualify for free or reduced lunch. If your school would like to participate in the 2023 – 2024 Schoolhouse Supplies Online program contact Schoolhouse Supplies.
RELATED: Check out the retailers that offer teacher discounts.
6. Staples Classroom Rewards Program gives teachers 10% when school supporters make in-store purchases.
Parents, supporters, and teachers must download the Staples Connect app and enroll in Classroom Rewards to participate. To be eligible and receive rewards as an educator, you must register as a teacher on the rewards page.
When Staples Classroom Rewards members use their Staples Rewards number during in-store checkout, 10% of their purchase goes to the teacher of their choice — up to $1,000 every 180 days. The teacher or school will automatically receive their rewards in $5 increments in their Staples Rewards account, which they can use on school supplies without spending anything out of pocket.
7. Request free books from halfpricebooks.com.
Half Price Books accepts donation requests from educators and nonprofits that focus on literacy, the environment, or education.
Once the application has been approved, Half Price Books will send you an email to the email address provided, and you can pick up your books or other media at the nearest Half Price Books location.
Keep in mind that 60-day advance notice is required for Half Price Book donation requests.
8. Get free Kindle Textbooks on Amazon.
If your classroom or students have access to a Kindle, Amazon offers several eTextbooks for free.
We didn’t forget those heading off to college. Check out our list loaded with discounts and freebies for college students.
9. Request free school supplies from local organizations.
Teachers may find free school supplies through local organizations, like the Boy & Girls Club of America, United Way, churches, and community centers.
10. Find free teacher supplies for your classroom on Freecycle.
Freecycle is a place where people post things they want to give away for free — or request things they’re looking for. While it isn’t set up expressly for teachers per se, teachers swear by it. We’ve seen someone give away first grade workbooks for free!