Representatives from JCPS load medical supplies that are being donated to the school system from Supplies Over Seas

Representatives from JCPS load medical supplies that are being donated to the school system from Supplies Over Seas. | Photo by Jeremy Chisenhall

Supplies Over Seas, a local nonprofit health organization that works globally, donated around $20,000 worth of medical supplies to Jefferson County Public Schools for its classrooms on Tuesday.

This donation will allow JCPS students from kindergarten through eighth grade to work with actual medical supplies in their science classrooms. The supplies were loaded up by JCPS representatives and transported from SOS to the JCPS warehouse on Tuesday.

“We have a lot of young people going into the medical field, and these supplies can help their education,” said Cody Moran from Supplies Over Seas. “It saves the district from spending money on usable medical supplies when they can just have them donated from us that they can use in the classroom.”

This is the first time that Supplies Over Seas has donated to JCPS formally, Moran said. They’ve donated to teachers in the past, but this donation allows the supplies to be applied to the whole district. Supplies Over Seas initiated the donation.

“We reached out to them because they have a need, we have a source, and we thought we could help them out,” Moran said.

While they do make international donations to help build clinics and hospitals, Supplies Over Seas looks to make its donations locally first, Moran said. They’ve donated to the Humane Society, Metro Animal and other local businesses in need of medical supplies.

“Any organization that can use these medical supplies for training or education, we’ll donate to them,” Moran said.

Michelle Tedford, the JCPS science instructional materials resource teacher, said that these materials are huge because the program for K-8 students is entirely hands-on and doesn’t have a textbook. Instead, it’s an inquiry-based program that requires a lot of materials. The school system has 25,000 boxes of supplies that go in and out of schools every year, she said.

“We have about 153 different elementary, middle schools and state agency schools that we supply science materials for,” Tedford said. “So the Supplies Over Seas donation is huge because that takes a large percentage of what our budget is, that way we can focus on specialty items.”

Tedford also said that she understands this as a partnership, meaning that JCPS will continue to get donations from Supplies Over Seas if and when they become available.

Supplies Over Seas’ donations consist of recovered surplus medical supplies that would go into a landfill if they weren’t kept and then donated.¬†Tedford said that Supplies Over Seas asked JCPS to come in and look for stuff they needed. She said the schools use tubing, glass beakers, Petri dishes, hospital dish pans and more.

“They have given us glass test tubes, glass slides, you know, things that we have to use every day within our science modules, but they’re expensive, so this kind of donation is big for us,” Tedford said.