BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In a warehouse near Hampden, more than 900 teachers, some of whom visit weekly, collect supplies for their classrooms.

For a small registration fee, they’re able to take everything from crayons to keyboards.

“Research shows that the average teacher spends over $500 every year out of pocket, and that’s extremely burdensome, not only financially but emotionally,” said Melissa Badeker, the founder of Baltimore Teacher Supply Shop.

A survey by the Maryland State Education Association backs up her numbers. They found that 94 percent of its members bought school supplies for the kids in their classrooms.

“That’s up from 91 percent last year, so more and more teachers are putting money out of their own pockets into the classrooms,” said MSEA’s Cheryl Bost.

The survey also found over half of their members work second jobs.

“So they’re trying to make ends meet by working these second jobs throughout the year while at the same time they’re dedicated to their schools,” Bost said.

The association agrees with the Kirwan Commission that our schools are underfunded and one of the answers lies just up the street at the statehouse.

“It’s going to take an investment by everyone as we move into the 2020 general assembly,” Bost said.

Until that happens, the Baltimore Teacher Supply Shop will let teachers come once for free and then as much as they want for a $45 yearly fee.

“The average teacher received over $500 worth of supplies, so it’s well worth the $45,” Badeker said.

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