CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — With the new school year right around the corner, teachers from all over are preparing to fill their classrooms with the essentials. Teacher’s Desk is here to help fill those desks with the supplies needed for success.

“The whole idea behind Teacher’s Desk, is that if you have a pencil, you have a chance,” John Mica, Founder of the Teacher’s Desk, said. “The need is just always there. It’s always been there, it’s grown since we started 12 years ago, now, we have a need that’s greater than ever.”

Mica founded the program many years ago when he noticed the importance a single pencil could have on a student’s education. Now, they give more than half a million pencils away every year.

“I taught in suburbs, I taught in the city schools, and saw the incredible difference,” Mica said. “There’d be dozens of pencils on the floor at the end of the school day in the suburban schools, and the city schools, there’d be three pencils for the whole class.”

The organization serves 260 schools from Rochester to Fort Erie to Pennsylvania, and they continue to grow. According to organizers, a school qualifies for its teachers to receive these supplies if 70% of its students use the free or reduced lunch program. If teachers are interested in signing up and their schools are eligible, Teacher’s Desk encourages people to send a note to

They give each qualified teacher $100,000 worth of supplies to start off the school year, and a chance to replenish after the holidays. From binders to tissues to everything in-between, these donations go directly to helping students in need.

“Especially with a school like mine, there’s a lower income so a lot of my families can’t really afford that kind of stuff, getting these kinds of school supplies is great for not only us, but for the students,” Megan Sweala, a first-grade teacher at the Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School who picked up supplies for the first time Monday, said.

These drive-through days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and walkthrough shopping experiences on Saturdays, couldn’t happen without the help of their many volunteers. From high schoolers to community group members to even retired teachers who have been in their shoes, more than 200 teachers help these educators weekly.

“What a great activity this is, not only are you helping teachers, but you’re helping students which is so important,” Sara Rodland, the School Liaison for the Teachers Desk, said.

If you’re looking to get involved, by volunteering, see if you’re eligible for the program, or if you would like to donate towards the Teachers Desk, visit their website here.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.