Tools for Learning

Providing free school supplies to teachers at high poverty schools

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Pencils & Paper serves the educational and creative needs of children in the Greater Rochester Area by providing free school supplies to teachers at high poverty schools.         

Serving Need in Our Community 

Over 50% of Rochester’s children live in poverty. Rochester's child poverty rate is the second-highest among U.S. cities with a population of 200,000 or more.

It is hard to imagine a child who does not have a pencil and paper to complete basic daily lessons, and yet every day in public, private, charter and parochial schools in our community, children of all ages attend class without the most basic supplies needed to be successful in school. Moreover, dedicated teachers often spend between $500 and $1,200 of their own money each school year to insure that the students in their classrooms have the tools they need to learn. 

Pencils & Paper helps meet a critical need in our community by providing teachers at high poverty schools the opportunity to shop for supplies for students at no cost.

How Does Pencils & Paper Work?

Schools in Monroe County in which 70% or more of students are eligible for free and reduced meals are invited to participate in the program on a school by school basis. Teachers from enrolled schools are then invited to shop for free school supplies once per semester. As Pencils & Paper's capacity grows, additional schools will be enrolled for shopping privileges.

Pencils & Paper is stocked with basic classroom supplies such as pencils, paper, pens, glue, markers, art supplies, tissues, toothpaste, toothbrushes and much, much more. Most items are new.There is no cash register in the store as everything in the store is free. Items can only be used for the benefit of students in need in our community.

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Directions to Pencils & Paper:

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For information, please contact Amy Rau, Program Director at or (585) 736-4610.