Make a difference: Crayons to Classrooms needs art supplies

Nonprofit provides free store for teachers

We’ve all heard about dedicated teachers who spend their own money to provide needed supplies for their students.

The Miami Valley is fortunate to have Crayons to Classrooms, the free store for teachers from under-funded preK-12 schools that serve students living in poverty in Greater Dayton. The purpose of the nonprofit is to enhance the readiness to learn of all students in need by providing them with school supplies that are essential to academic success — at no cost to their teachers, families or schools. The organization’s goal is that no student should go to school without the basic supplies needed for learning.

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This past year, COVID-19 created a particularly challenging time for teachers and students as schools developed remote and hybrid learning. “Students needed two sets of supplies — one for school and one for remote learning,” says executive director Steve Rubenstein. “In response to this need, we found creative ways to get needed school supplies into the hands of students. Since July 2020, we have distributed more than $3.9 million in supplies.”

For a school to be eligible for Crayons to Classrooms’ services, 60 percent or more of those enrolled must receive free or reduced-price meals via the National School Lunch Program. Teachers in these schools are invited to “shop” twice during the school year, once per semester, at no cost to them, their schools, or their students and their families. During the 2020-2021 school year, Crayons to Classrooms served 111 high-need schools.

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In a recent Kids In Need Foundation survey, 89 percent of respondents reported that access to free school supplies supported classroom preparedness. With supplies from Crayons to Classrooms, teachers can continue to focus on teaching and students can be worry-free knowing they are prepared to learn. A local teacher recently shared: “The resources that have been given to us really help each child in the classroom. It takes the burden off them to focus on learning and not the fact that they might not have a pencil, paper, glue or other things to complete daily assignments. These items also help teachers not have to buy them.”

Why there will be an even greater need for next year

Looking ahead to the 2021-2022 school year, Rubenstein says students will need their own personal set of supplies to avoid spread of germs, creating an even greater need for core supplies in the classroom. “Crayons to Classrooms is determined to respond, but needs support from the community to keep the shelves of their teacher resource center stocked,” he says.

The following items are those most needed at this time:

  • Markers
  • 1 subject 70-count spiral notebooks
  • #2 pencils
  • 24-count crayons
  • Glue sticks
  • Colored pencils

You can drop donations off at Crayons to Classroom from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday at 1750 Woodman Drive, Dayton, Ohio, 45420. The store is adjacent to the Goodwill Outlet Store. Financial donations may be sent to this address or you can visit the organization’s website,

Other ways to help

In preparation for back-to-school time, Crayons to Classrooms will be hosting a Stuff the Bus supply drive and fundraiser starting July 1, 2021. Businesses, organizations, and individuals can host onsite supply drives or utilize their networks to raise funds for most needed supplies. For more information about DC2C, please check out the website.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Amy Kopp, fund development manager, by calling (937) 528-6403 or via email at


Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith:

Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.

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