RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - During these first few days of school, teachers quickly figure out how much school budgets will not cover. Too few dollars for supplies means that too many kids will go without.
The first week of class, and elementary school teacher Margaret Bess says there is already some tough lessons being learned.
"You spend more money than they give you," she said, speaking about what she and fellow teachers at Northboro Elementary School in West Palm Beach spend on supplies each year.
Bess and other local teachers are shopping for exactly what they need. If they do not, Bess says, too many students would go without the basic school supplies they need because they cannot afford them.
"We don't let them know that they don't have what everybody else has," said Bess.
That heartbreaking reality is unfolding in classrooms across south Florida, prompting teachers to dig deeper into their own pockets to fill the void. But in an overstuffed Riviera Beach warehouse known as the Resource Depot , there is some help also some hope.
"When I look around this room, I'm thinking about all the things I could do," said Bess.
The non-profit turns would-be waste into what could be learning tools.
"There's just so many things around to pick from that are just random stuff," said Scotty Howard, a teacher at Suncoast High School. From books and paper to fabric and Styrofoam, for a $25 yearly membership fee, any teacher can shop at the depot. They can haul out as much material as they need - at no cost.
"That's what's so good about it.," said Bess. "Won't cost me a dime."
Last year, the Resource Depot gave out 300 tons of material that could have landed in a landfill. To donate or to learn how you can utilize the Resource Depot, click here .