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Teachers at four schools shop for free supplies at Wish List Depot

With shopping baskets and shelves stocked with pencils and pens, paper and Post-Its, and arts and crafts materials, it looks like a typical office supply store. But this store is just for teachers, and everything in it is free.

“The Wish List Depot is here to provide supplies for teachers so they don’t have to pay for them out of their own pockets,” said Sharon Jones-Matthews, president of The Wish List Depot, the nonprofit organization that set-up and is running the store.

Teachers spend $300-$600 of their own personal finances a year on school supplies for their students, and the depots will work to lift those financial worries. The first one opened in Johnston Square Elementary School. Teachers from the school, and from three other nearby schools, Cecil Elementary, Dr. Bernard Harris Sr. Elementary and Dr. Rayner Browne Elementary/Middle Schools, can all “shop” there.

“This is an awesome opportunity. This gives the hardworking teachers the tools for effective teaching,” said principal Raymond Braxton. “It gives us the opportunity for better academic incentives for the students.”

The Wish List Depot is targeting Title 1 schools because of their high poverty rates.

“This will help teachers educate students more effectively by helping them concentrate on helping the children rather than concentrating on what they don’t have,” said Stephanie Matthews-Ware, a volunteer for the organization. “Teachers are such an important commodity and without them having the proper supplies, what will happen to our students?”

Jones-Matthews plans to place 23 stores in Title 1 schools across the city by 2017.
For information on donation or volunteer opportunities, you may contact Sharon Jones-Matthews by email at