(Cleveland) - Starting today, teachers from schools throughout Cuyahoga County that serve low-income students will be able to take advantage of more than $2 million of free school supplies, books, and art materials.

The supplies are brought to Cleveland each year by the Cleveland Kids in Need Resource Center (CKIN).

For 12 years, thousands of teachers from Cleveland and East Cleveland schools have come to the Center, located at 3631 Perkins Avenue in Cleveland, twice a year to “shop” for free supplies for their needy students.

The Center also offers teachers a wide array of the tools they need to engage their students and teach creatively: such as poster board, art materials, workbooks, incentives, copy paper, and thousands of high quality books for students K-12.

"A lot of kid lose their paper, pencils or their books. Whatever the reason they don’t have them,” said Mykal Thomas, a math and science teacher at Anton Grdina Elementary School in Cleveland who came to the Center to pick up free supplies. “I’m like a kid in a candy store in here.”

A recent survey of teachers visiting the Center reports that access to the supplies provided by CKIN has a high impact on not only the students’ readiness to learn, but on their motivation, creativity and self-esteem.

In years past, CKIN has served teachers from 188 public, parochial and charter schools in Cleveland and East Cleveland.

This year, CKIN is expanding their services to include all schools in Cuyahoga County, where more than 65% of students qualify for free/reduced lunch. This will increase CKIN’s reach to include 44 additional schools in Bedford, Euclid, Lakewood, Cleveland Heights/University Heights, Maple Heights, Garfield Heights and Warrensville Heights.

"We are thrilled to be able to broaden our service to the Greater Cleveland community” said Executive Director Barbara Deeds. “By expanding, we are able to help children in more than 230 schools gain access to much needed supplies.”

Deeds spoke to WTAM 1100's Darren Toms:

A local, independent nonprofit, CKIN is one of 27 Centers throughout the U.S. that benefit from the national Kids In Need Foundation. The Kids In Need Foundation secures more than $42 million worth of donated products from national companies each year and offers them to the local Centers.

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