Publix Donates Nearly $23,000 to help Hillsborough Education Foundation Provide Supplies to Students, Teachers and Schools in Need

As students and teachers resume classes, whether online or in person, Hillsborough Education Foundation understands the need for essential school supplies and resources is greater than ever—especially for some of our most vulnerable students. Thanks to the generous donations of Publix customers and associates within Hillsborough County, HEF recently received nearly $23,000 to help local teachers and students prepare for the school year.

“The need definitely exists, that part hasn’t stopped,” said Publix Community Relations Manager Brian West. “We’re thankful for our customers and we’re incredibly blessed by their giving.”

For the annual Tools for Back to School campaign, Publix Supermarkets collected $5, $7 or $10 donations at registers in locations across the state with proceeds benefiting non-profit organizations like Hillsborough Education Foundation.

During a presentation at Mort Elementary School, one of the district’s high-needs Transformation Network schools whose teachers received a portion of the donation, West thanked FOX 13 for their partnership and expressed gratitude to Publix customers whom he said really deserved the praise for the generous contribution.

“We run a register campaign every year in late July, first part of August that allows our customers who shop at our stores to make donations at the register,” West explained. “The purpose of the donation is to help families and teachers who are returning to school—helping those in need.”

Muna Salah, a Kindergarten teacher at Mort Elementary, said she was so grateful for the donation because it will allow teachers to relieve some of the financial burden parents face when purchasing supplies.

“We really do put our money into our kids because they are everything to us,” Salah said. “So, the fact that I can tell parents ‘don’t worry about supplies, we got you covered’ means so much to me. These parents support Publix, and the fact that we can tell them the people that you support are supporting you right back means so much to us.”

Hillsborough Education Foundation Chief Programs Officer Paul Casebolt expressed HEF’s gratitude for the generous contribution because the Foundation is currently in the process of restocking the shelves of our Teaching Tools Resource Center after making supply deliveries to the district’s highest needs schools in preparation for Back to School.

“With the onset of the pandemic and as people are encountering situations where they’ve been furloughed or laid off, we’re finding the needs for school supplies to be even higher,” Casebolt said. “We just completed large drops of supplies to 156 Title I schools in Hillsborough County. That means we need to replenish our inventory, so anything that we can get in terms of paper, pencils, pens, glue and glue sticks—all the basic kinds of things every child needs when they’re trying to get started with their education.”

With more than 150,000 students in Hillsborough County relying on free or reduced-price lunch, it’s tough for these struggling families to buy the school supplies students need to succeed.

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