Portage teacher helping students in need one cinch sack at a time

PORTAGE, Mich. — Dozens of notebooks, pencils, crayons, markers, and glue sticks covered Amy Meyer’s dining room table Thursday afternoon. She’s a teacher at Portage Northern High School and she knows what students need.

“I think the supplies now, the lists are getting bigger and bigger,” Meyer said during an interview at her home. “There’s a lot of things that teachers can’t provide [students] on their own either.”

So, Meyer came up with a special project to help students in need. She and her two children sat around the table and filled cinch sacks with school supplies, which will later be donated to those students.

“It chokes me up a little bit,” she said with tears in her eyes. “[My kids] get so excited to go get their supplies and not all kids have that luxury.”

Even though Portage is known as a middle-to-upper class town, there’s still people with immediate needs she said. At the beginning of the school year she calls around to different teachers and schools to see if they have any students who need school supplies. Every year, she gives away a few dozen bags.

“I had a girl come to my classroom one time. Her teacher brought her to thank me and she clutched it like a teddy bear,” Meyer recalled.  “She was so excited that she had something brand new.”

In addition to teaching, Meyer works as a consultant with Thirty-One, a direct sales business that operates a lot like Mary Kay, selling customers household items and  monogramed bags. She’s been doing it for seven years. And in 2014 she asked her customers if they’d like to sponsor a cinch sack for $20.

“I have amazing supportive customers,” Meyer said about her core group. “All of my commission I make on the sale of those cinch sacks turns around and goes to basically Meijer where I purchase all the school supplies.”

Meyer said she takes the kids with her when she goes shopping for the sacks. But the most rewarding part is when she gives them away.

“31 cinch sacks, it’s not going to change the world but it’s going to change a year for a kid who has something that’s new, not borrowed or used,” she said with her eyes tearing up. “That just fills me with joy.”

***To contact Amy Meyer, click here***

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