DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The first week of May is Teacher Appreciation Week and one Miami Valley educator says teachers could use support this year more than ever before.

“Teachers right now are really struggling with all the extra needs in our building this year,” said Valerie Herdman, assistant principal at Fairborn Primary School. “From teaching remote, teaching face-to-face, and then meeting our socio-emotional needs of our students.”

She said all of those things have entailed making a variety of unforeseen changes, including becoming experts in their online classrooms, keeping students engaged, and ensuring a healthy environment for students. For some teachers, that commitment to the children even extends beyond the classroom.

“Teachers feel like their children are their own in their classroom,” Herdman explained. ” So when a child comes in worried about, ‘Am I going to have the food or the supplies from my house today?’ the teachers go out and get stuff on their own because they want to make sure those needs are met.”

She said that often requires teachers to spend money out of their own pockets. Staff at Dayton Crayons to Classrooms, an organization that buys supplies in bulk to donate to students in under-funded districts, said during Teacher Appreciation Week, they want to help ease that financial burden.

“We’re here to help children and teachers in the region — in the Miami Valley,” said Dave Hargrove, operations manager at Crayons to Classrooms. “Everyone knows an educator. It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. We have a generous donor who is matching donations this week. So it would be very helpful to help us out so we can help out our local teachers.”

Hargrove said since July of 2020, Crayons to Classrooms has donated more than $3.5 million in face masks, hand sanitizer, wipes and other core supplies.

Donations can be made online at dc2c.org/donate, or checks or money orders can be made to DC2C at 1750 Woodman Dr., Dayton, Ohio 45420.