Relief efforts helped Riverdale Elementary School teachers and others return to school

[Orlando, FL] October 25, 2022 – In the three weeks after Hurricane Ian devastated Central Florida with unprecedented flooding and destruction, A Gift for Teaching has quickly responded with relief efforts to support teachers and their students in schools and areas severely impacted by the storm such as Riverdale Elementary School and the Orlo Vista region.

“Working closely with the Orange County Public School District,” says Jane Thompson, President of A Gift for Teaching, “we have distributed more than $236,600 worth of critical learning supplies to meet the immediate needs of students as they return to school to continue their education and to feel a sense of normalcy despite the current uncertainty of their circumstances at home or temporary state of shelter.”

Due to extensive damage at Riverdale Elementary, the school was unable to reopen and relocated its teachers and students to East River High School. In response to this, A Gift for Teaching redirected its Pencil Boy Express – The Mobile Free Store for an emergency visit and brought new essential classroom supplies for nearly 100 teachers of both schools as well as eight neighboring area schools. In addition, every Riverdale Elementary School teacher received a supplemental box of items to help transform their empty makeshift classrooms into a new learning environment for students once again. Further specialty items were also provided to help stock the art room at East River High School for elementary-age projects.

In the few days of immediately reopening A Gift for Teaching’s Free Teacher Supply Store, 336 teachers from 112 schools took the initiative to visit and acquire free supplies for their students who needed them most – all while processing their own damage and loss of property due to Hurricane Ian. 87 Pencil Boy Curbside supply kits were also picked up with an additional 130 online orders to be fulfilled in the month of October. These crucial supplies were in the hands of local teachers and students as quickly as they were because of community donations, and with continued support, A Gift for Teaching remains ready to assist any developing needs as recovery efforts continue for schools and teachers.

A Gift for Teaching is anticipating a high influx of demand to replenish school and classroom supplies in the coming months as tens of thousands of families in the community are having to relocate, start over, and rebuild. To schedule a physical supply donation drop-off or to give a gift online and support the areas of most need, visit


Denise Naranjo, Director of Marketing