TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — New Channel 8’s Kindness Day benefits five charities in the area, including the Hillsborough Education Foundation.

The charity allows local teachers to pick free gear for their classrooms at the HEF supply shop on Howard Avenue.

Chief Executive Officer Kim Jowell says more than 3,000 teachers visit the shop annually, and the average educator leaves with $400 in supplies.

According to Jowell, more than 60% of students in Hillsborough County are living at or below the poverty line.

She tells 8 On Your Side that December is an important time for teachers to utilize the resource.

“We’re getting ready to start the next semester. So, they’ve been using their supplies, we see an influx of teachers shopping for the new semesters. While people don’t think of supplies at this time of year, it is very relevant, it is very important and teachers will tell you that,” Jowell said.

According to Jowell, HEF distributed more than $4 million in resources in 2021, and 90% of those supplies were from donations.

Jowell is grateful for the contributions collected during Kindness Day, which prevent teachers from paying for supplies out of their own pockets.