GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — National Teacher Appreciation Week is the first full week of May. This year Grand Rapids Public Schools teachers can help their students learn with free, brand-new supplies.

A total of $20,000 from the GRPS Foundation is being distributed to teachers around the school system. The GRPS Foundation is partnering with Grand Rapids nonprofit StoreHouse for the initiative. After registering for one-hour time slots, teachers will have the opportunity to use $50 towards classroom supplies.

“The needs are great and it feels really good on our part,” GRPS Foundation Director of Development Holly Visser said. “We’re living in a really hard world I think if we’re honest and so anything we can do is super fabulous.”

“I was the third one in and the first one checked out,” Grand Rapids Montessori Middlehigh School science teacher Robin Schilstra said. 

Schilstra participated in the event and was fortunate to not only get some coveted school supplies, but also some items for teaching outside of the classroom.

“Some whiteboard markers, some pencils, a lot of posterboard, which is like gold in middle and high school, and some other unique things the StoreHouse had to offer like hair cutting capes that they had and I use those because we can take them outside and let the kids sit on them when we’re working outside,” said Schilstra.

“I love being with them every day, I love seeing them learn, I love seeing them grow to be amazing human beings,” Schilstra said about her students. “It was a really nice thing to have.”

The event’s last day will be May 6. GRPS teachers can register online. Questions surrounding the event can be directed to Visser at

For the full conversation with GRPS Foundation Director of Development Holly Visser, watch the video in the player above.