GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Kent County Commissioner Monica Sparks grew up seeing her mother use her own money to buy school supplies for her students.
Since then, teachers’ wages in Michigan have continued to stagnate and the funds for school supplies are still coming out of the pockets of the educators.
One day, Sparks decided she was going to do something about it – one classroom at a time.
"We know that teachers are not paid a lot, they're not paid what they're worth, let's say that, and there's so much need and there's so much need in our community," Sparks said.
Elementary school teacher Kara Tidey is no stranger to going the extra mile for her students.
"I do dig into my own pocket often throughout the school year to provide for my kids," Tidey said.
Sometimes, it’s a necessity for Tidey, as students’ parents simply don’t have the means to provide the supplies themselves.
A typical teacher’s salary can make it difficult to do it all, which is why Sparks feels the need to step in.
"Children, teachers, school, education, our community is worth it," she said.
Sparks began her acts of giving through a Facebook post, and is continuing to provide for more classrooms in West Michigan.
Anyone who would like to donate supplies or help the cause is encouraged to message her Facebook page.