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Stuff the Bus gives kids at Parkwood Heights Elementary the tools to succeed

Assistant principal DeLayna Simpson says her teachers often spend money out of their own pockets for supplies like pencils, markers and binders.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — DeLayna Simpson wants every one of her students at Parkwood Heights Elementary to succeed. 

To have the tools to be able to grow. To be in an environment that allows them to excel. 

Unfortunately, limited resources have forced the assistant principal's teachers to buy their own supplies. It's created an uphill battle to ensure kids have the basic tools at school. 

"As you're doing a walkthrough as an administrator there's no more pencils so you're trying to make sure everybody has what they need. As an administrator you're trying to remove roadblocks," Simpson said. 

Simpson said her teachers, as a whole, spend about $3,000 a year on everyday supplies such as pencils, markers, and paper.

Parkwood Heights is a Title I school and more than half of the students come from underprivileged homes.

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"Getting school supplies, or even the clothes kids need or the shoes they need for the school year can be incredible stressful for families in this area," Simpson said. 

This Friday, thanks to donations from the community, essential school supplies will be donated to Parkwood Heights Elementary through First Coast News and United Way of Northeast Florida's initiative, Stuff the Bus.

Simpson says supplies will allow her to allocate resources towards after school tutoring. She's thankful it will give her kids an opportunity to learn with the tools they deserve.

"You never want a child to be sitting in class and the teacher says get out your colored pencils, and they don't have colored pencils," Simpson said. 

The annual fundraiser is Friday at the Markets at Town Center.

First Coast News will be there from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. collecting any school supplies you'd like to donate to the kids of our community.

You can also *text donations by sending the phrase "Classrooms 22" to 3-0-3-0-6.

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