Teacher creates site to swap unused school supplies

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:34

Highland Lakes — Maureen Dunlap is a middle school math teacher who has seen enough waste. She’s tired of watching perfectly good school supplies end up in the trash at the end of the year and she’s doing something about it. Dunlap lives in Highland Lakes, but teaches in Hopatcong. Between those two communities and all across New Jersey, she’s begun a push to get children to turn in their unused, half-used and otherwise usable school supplies so that others may benefit. Her Web site, new2you.info, is a place where students and teachers can list what they have and what they want. Dunlap’s aim, she says, is to create “a way to get kids more aware and possibly even more grateful for what they do have and what they choose to throw away at the end of the year.” Too much waste Dunlap says as the last days of school approach, children fill the wastebaskets at school with pounds of perfectly good paper, notebooks, pens, pencils and even backpacks. In the past she has removed enough supplies to furnish her classroom for most of a year. But this year, she hopes to encourage students to become thrifty and “green.” Not to mention aware of their good fortune and the needs of others. “There are kids who have nothing and would love to have a binder.” She hopes that in time, the Web site will manage itself. Teachers can go to the site and learn how to become involved; they can contact her through the site and she will create a page listing their information. “Organizations that are looking for the supplies or those that work with low-income families that need them” can go to the site to find local donors. And these useful materials won’t end up in a landfill. “I would love to go nationwide at some point,” she says. “Last year I ended up sending quite a number of supplies and backpacks down to Virginia.”