Galesburg community uses social media to connect teachers with school supplies

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As the school year finally gets underway, community members have found a new way to show their support for Galesburg's teachers.

On Sunday night, Andrew Nelson set up a Facebook group called "Tools for our Galesburg Teachers." On the page, teachers in District 205 can post their classroom needs -- things like printer ink, playground balls and pencil sharpeners. Community members then respond to the posts, either purchasing the supplies or donating items they have at home.

By Tuesday night, the group already had more than 720 members.

"I kinda just set it up thinking maybe five or six people would get helped... and it just blew up," said Nelson.

Teachers have posted their gratitude for the support as well, calling it "heartwarming," after 15 days on the picket lines took both an emotional and financial toll.

"With the strike and everything, I think it's kind of hitting home that people lost their first paycheck. I mean, people are having a hard time paying for food and their mortgage," said Nelson.

According to a study from the National School Supply and Equipment Association, on average, teachers spent $485 of their own money on school supplies, instructional materials and classroom materials during the 2012-2013 school year.

As the husband and son of teachers, Nelson knows that cost.

"Yeah, teachers spend quite a bit of their own money," said Nelson. "Plus, she's working here until 11 o'clock grading papers. People think it's 7:30 to 3, and then you're done... and it's not that way at all."

For more information on how to help, you can visit the Facebook page at this link.