By Robbie Owens

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WAXAHACHIE (CBSDFW.COM) – Back to school shopping is getting off to an early start this year. That’s according to local retailers. So, not surprisingly, so is the effort to help provide the needed tools for economically disadvantaged kids.

“They have to have binders, they have to have dividers, they have to have highlighters,” says Teresa Bravo, who rattles off portions of the school supply list like a veteran. She is. In addition to having to provide supplies for her own, the Waxahachie teacher often buys supplies for her students.

“For the past 15 years,” she adds with a good natured laugh. “Every year I adopt a student in my class to make sure that they have the supplies, the tools they need to succeed in our classroom.”

And Bravo is far from alone. Every year we hear of teachers across North Texas reaching into their own wallets to help buy supplies for needy students. In the Waxahachie school district, about half of the students are considered ‘economically disadvantaged.’ “We don’t want them to go without,” says Bravo, “and we want them to feel equal with everyone else.”

In Waxahachie, local retailers such as Walmart are helping with the school supply collection effort. Donation bins are placed conveniently at the front door. Already generous shoppers have dropped off cases of notebooks, pencils and backpacks. But, Waxahachie is also looking to harness the good will and support of those who aren’t shopping at the store: at the suggestion of a staffer, they’ve launched a GoFundMe effort to raise money for supplies.

“Things change in the way that we give to causes,” says district spokesperson Jenny Bridges, “especially for people in their 20s and 30s.” According to Bridges, the goal is to raise enough money to provide backpacks and supplies for at least 1500 students—maybe more. She says the online effort helps the entire community get involved.

“If you don’t have children in school, you may be able to help and want to help,” says Bridges. “But, you’re not thinking about it because you’re not out buying school supplies. So this is a way to help get the word out.”
And give students a leg up, on learning, from the very first day.

“They’re ready to learn because they have all of the tools,” adds Bravo.

Follow me on twitter @cbs11 Robbie

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