KidSmart - Tools for Learning opened in 2002 as the first free educational supply store in Missouri. KidSmart is one of 35 grassroots organizations in the country. The KidSmart mission is to empower children in need to succeed in school by providing essential tools for learning.
The KidSmart free store is a community supported resource which transforms surplus and new product from corporations and individuals, into educational tools for Pre-K through 12th grade children who are at the greatest risk of failing in our schools. KidSmart's target population is the over 90,000 local children who live in poverty.
During its first year of operation KidSmart served 5,000 children from 14 eligible schools, through the Free Store. Since opening in 2002, KidSmart has distributed $29 million in school supplies to more than 102,100 economically disadvantaged children in the St. Louis Area. Teachers from eligible public and non-public schools "shop" for free each month of the school year, August-May, for supplies their students desperately need. These supplies include: paper, pencils, markers, glue and other educational materials to enrich and inspire learning.
Corporate, foundation, and individual financial partners help ensure the continued success of the Free Store. Surplus items that businesses and individuals would normally discard are used instead to enhance the educational foundation of children with limited resources. Our operation encourages a recycling philosophy and provides an easy and effective method to utilize excess materials. For businesses, it is a way to take surplus items -- paper goods, pens, pencils, any kind of office supplies or merchandise -- and turn them into a tax-deductible donation to help area children in need. Additionally, community groups, businesses and individuals often conduct supply drives which help keep the shelves of the Free Store well stocked with new materials.