Teacher Has To Panhandle To Get School Supplies She Needs

She spends between 5-8.5% of her $35,000 salary on supplies for her students.

During the summer, teachers all over the United States are not just sitting by the pool and relaxing. They are also getting ready for the upcoming school year: preparing their syllabus for the year, redecorating their classrooms, and getting various supplies they’ll need during the school year.

Unfortunately, as budgets continue to decrease in nearly every district in the country, teachers are relying more and more on help from parents and their community to get the supplies they need.

One teacher in Oklahoma went so far as to ask for help the way we see homeless people ask for help: panhandling.

Teresa Danks, a 3rd grade teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, started asking for help to pay for school supplies in mid-July. Danks says she spends between 5 – 8.5% of her $35,000 salary on supplies for her students.

“It all adds up week after week and month after month,” Danks told FOX 23 in Tulsa. “So it’s a huge need.”

She says her unusual fundraising style is not just about the money, but she says she is also setting out to bring awareness to the budget cut crisis and how it affects Oklahoma’s education system.

Danks says she urges people to donate to their local schools because she believes other teachers are likely in similar situations.

Danks released a list of needed supplies:

Any and all things crafty:

Egg cartons

Paper towel/toilet paper rolls


Old, leftover party paper plates


Pipe cleaners

Broken costume jewelry


Craft wire

Silk flowers

Plastic water bottles

Gallon size plastic jugs

Sewing needles/Thread


Fabric pieces

Cotton balls/Pom Poms

Safety pins

Stencils (letters & pictures)

Stamp pads

Large felt board

Sandwich bags

Other items:

Treasure box single wrap candy

Single electric hot burner

Board games and card games for ages 6+

Big Joe black bean bag chair

Yoga balls



Small dorm size refrigerator

Small microwave

Danks’s form of raising awareness for the upcoming school year has gotten attention from across the country. Click “Next Page” to see how she is trying to help teachers all over the country.