FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It takes just a few pink erasers, crayons, glue sticks, composition books, colored pencils, folders, paper, pencils and pencil cases to equip students with basic supplies to start the school year.

But for some students and their parents, even those supplies are simply out of reach financially.

With more than 65% of students in Broward County Public Schools enrolled in free and reduced lunch programs, many families must choose shelter, food and clothing over school supplies.

Instead it is teachers who take on the financial burden, spending an average of $700 annually to keep their classrooms stocked with supplies.

To meet this need, the Broward Education Foundation is launching the annual School Supply Drive from Monday, July 8 through Friday, Aug. 12 to fill the shelves of its School Supply Center where teachers from Title I Broward County schools shop for free twice a year.

“The need is real. Last year more than 4,000 teachers from 98% of eligible schools shopped at the School Supply Center for an average of $400 per purchase,” said Broward Education Foundation Executive Director Shea Ciriago. “Teachers know best what their students need in classrooms and we all want to set our students up for success. Broward Education Foundation’s School Supply Center is the only place in Broward County that supports our schools, students and teachers in this way.”

New to this year’s Back to School Drive is that State Farm Insurance and BrightStar Credit Union, both long-time partners of Broward Education Foundation, are accepting donations from the public at all of their locations.

Other participants this year include Bank of America, Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Centennial Bank, Dennis Moran Agency – Allstate, Exchange Club of Pompano Beach, Fortinet, Greenberg Traurig, Grover Corlew, HealthTrust Workforce Solutions, Invigorate Solutions LLC DBA Local Management, JM Family Enterprises, Inc., Lockton Companies, People’s Trust Insurance, Pierson Grant, Premier Smile Center, StevenDouglas, the Town of Davie and Ultimate Software.

In addition to participating in the drive, Centennial Bank and People’s Trust Insurance generously sponsored the Back to School Drive official kickoff at the Broward Education Foundation’s School Supply Center.

“The fact is that teachers cannot teach without supplies,” said Florida Rep. Patricia H. Williams, honorary chair of the Back to School Drive.

“It goes without saying how important education is to our students. I am challenging the community to help our students and teachers. If everybody does a little, we will do a lot.”

To participate in Broward Education Foundation’s Back to School Supply Drive, to have a collection box delivered and picked up and to learn more, visit, call 754321-2030 and follow on Facebook or Twitter.