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Baltimore Teacher Supply Swap to close its doors

Posted at 11:47 AM, Oct 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-15 11:50:36-04

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — The Baltimore Teacher Supply Swap, also known simply as “The Swap”, is closing its doors after five years.

In Tuesday's official announcement, the Board of Director's cited funding issues and the departure of Executive Director Melissa Badeker as reasons for the closure.

“Melissa created an amazing community asset for Baltimore educators,” said Board President Mary Biscoe-Hall. “Despite our best efforts to apply for grants, raise money, and adjust budgets, we’re facing our worst-case scenario with closing The Swap" said Biscoe-Hall.

The official closure is effective November 30.

Baltimore Teacher Supply Swap was created by Badeker and Kathleen Williams as a way for educators to obtain donated gently used or new school supplies for their students and classrooms.

Since its inception, "The Swap" says it's secured over $130,000 in grants, and supported over 2000 teachers with over $700,000 worth of educational supplies.

RELATED: Supply swap gets teachers ready for school year

Until it's official closure, Swap members can still visit the free store on Thursdays from 3:00pm to 6:00pm and Saturdays from 11am to 2pm through October 31.

If supplies remain, The Swap will be open to the general public, as well as members, only on Saturday, November 2 and Saturday, November 9.

“The Swap" had been actively looking for partners that could help keep the store going, and even had serious interest from one non-profit. Unfortunately, the two sides couldn't come to an agreement.

“We see some schools spending less than one-percent of their budgets on instructional supplies. We know that teachers spend their own hard-earned dollars buying materials for their classrooms. People agree: A need exists for organizations such as The Swap. Unfortunately, without adequate funding, we cannot continue,”said Board Member Alessa Giampaolo Keener.

The Swap is located at 1794 Union Avenue, in a warehouse park next to the Baltimore Light RailLink station in North Baltimore's Woodberry neighborhood.