WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The treasures inside Resource Depot are ever-changing, organized into packed shelves that wind around a large warehouse space in West Palm Beach. Everything sold at Resource Depot was donated by the community, available for purchase at a fraction of its original price. It’s open to any shopper in the community who wants to saves money keep waste out of the landfill.
The Department of Education found about 95% of teachers purchase supplies for their students, spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. Teachers are particularly fond of shopping at Resource Depot, though the location is open to all.
We followed Lisa Poskanzer, Media Specialist at North Grade K-8 through the two sections of Resource Depot. She starts by getting two different bins, one for each section.
The first section is the “Treasure Boutique.” In this area, the items are individually priced at a fraction of the cost, and tend to be newer items with higher value. Poskanzer finds sets of stamps, books, specialty papers and more, exclaiming with excitement at the items.
“I get inspired by whatever it is I see,” she said.
Poskanzer stops at Resource Depot before she goes on to regular office and school supply aisles in traditional stores. Sometimes the item itself will dictate the possibilities.
“We totally need yarn in my classroom, this is a great idea for bulletin boards,” she says, picking up several skeins fiber in a variety of blue tones.
Next, she stopped at the Materials Marketplace area. In this section, visitors purchase materials based on volume. Whatever fits in a yellow bin comes at a flat, nominal price.
“I didn’t know I needed them until I saw them,” she said, holding up pipets with measurements on the side. She plans to use them in the school’s garden as sign markers or rain measurement devices.
There are stacks of lenses from eyeglasses in one tray, colored bottle caps in another. Poskanzer walked away with a large book of material samples, the kind typically used by an interior designer. If you see an artistic purpose for one of the objects, it’s best you get it before a different shopper spots it.
“It’s here today, it may be gone tomorrow,” she explained.
Executive Director Jennifer O’Brien says they’ve been gratefully accepting a wave of donations. Many of them came from closets cleared during the pandemic, and businesses that were forced to shut down.
“We’re paying it forward, we’re passing it on,” O’Brien said.
A big part of the effort is to keep items out of the landfill. Resource Depot has started its “Enough is ENF” campaign to encourage people to take just what they need in all parts of their lives. The organization has found objects that are donated can take on new life in the hands of creative thinkers.
“You can have this random object, I might not even know what it is, but right behind me an artist is coming through and like I need that, it’s the most incredible thing,” O’Brien said.
The hope is that every object sold will help a person with hands-on learning that’s been suppressed due to the pandemic.
“Maybe they’ll end up in a classroom and help hundreds of kids and not just one,” Poskanzer said.
Resource Depot is open to all shoppers, and it sells passes for multiple visits, making for a great back-to-school gift.