Frequently Asked Questions
How are eligible schools chosen?
Schools where 70% or more of the students on the Free/Reduced Lunch Program, a national poverty index, are invited to participate in our monthly shopping program, however, we do offer alternative shopping programs for those schools that do not meet that criteria.
Who is eligible to shop at KidSmart?
To be eligible to shop, teachers must be a full-time, certified teacher with his or her own classroom, at one of our eligible schools. Personnel not eligible to shop include: Instructional Assistants, Interns, Student Teachers, Tutors, In School Suspension Teachers, Visiting Teachers, Counselors, Custodians, and Office and Cafeteria staff.
Currently KidSmart serves more than 70 eligible schools in 12 districts throughout the St. Louis area
Can a teacher who is not eligible still shop at KidSmart?
Yes. A certified teacher with his/her own class in one of our current Volunteer to Shop schools may earn a shopping trip at KidSmart if he or she volunteers at the store for three hours after completing a volunteer orientation. Due to the limited product available, this program is only available to schools on our current "Volunteer to Shop" list. (more info)
Can businesses claim a tax deduction when they donate?
In most cases, a business can claim donations as charitable contributions, but each company should rely on the advice of its tax advisor. (more info)
What items are most needed?
Students always need basic school supplies such as:
- notebook filler paper
Students and teachers are very creative and use products that you might never imagine in a classroom.
Are there any items that KidSmart does not accept?
In most cases, KidSmart does not accept computers or furniture and appliances that are too large to fit in a teacher's car. If an item is new or gently used, can be used in the classroom for educational purposes (except computers) and can fit in a teacher’s car…we’ll take it!
Does KidSmart provide a pick-up service for donations?
We have a limited ability to pick up donations, so it is very helpful when donors arrange for delivery or drop off contributions at our store.
How is KidSmart funded?
KidSmart is funded solely through generous donations from the community including corporations, businesses, foundations, and individuals. We are not publicly funded, nor do we receive any support from the United Way.
What are the shopping hours for teachers?
Shopping hours are Monday–Thursday from 3 – 6 p.m., August through May. Eligible school teachers are permitted to shop once a month. Teachers and principals are notified of the schedule.
Are there any limits for shoppers?
Yes. Many items are limited to ensure that merchandise is fairly distributed to all students and their schools. Those items are clearly marked with the maximum quantities allowed.
Shouldn't the government be providing school supplies in the classrooms?
Unfortunately, the government is not providing enough and most teachers spend their own money on supplies, so KidSmart tries to make up the difference. KidSmart is also able to provide the means for transferring nontraditional items into classrooms that would never be part of a school budget. Items like t-shirts, games, hats, storage containers, decorations and maps are diverted from landfills, "recycled" and then used effectively by students in the classroom.
What is the average value of merchandise from one shopping trip?
In the 2005–2006 academic year, teachers took an average of $416 worth of supplies for each shopping trip back to the classroom.
Can home schools and private schools participate in the program?
For now, the program is open mainly to public schools, but if enough product becomes available, KidSmart may expand to include these groups. There are a few private schools that are eligible to shop, and private school teachers may be eligible for our volunteer to shop program. (more info)
To see if your school is on KidSmart’s eligible shopping list (click here).
Can students volunteer at KidSmart for community service hours?
Are there any other programs like KidSmart around the country?
Yes. We are affiliated with other similar resource centers through a national network of teachers' free stores. Check out Other Centers for more information. (Other Centers)