ROCK HILL, S.C. -- The shabby home on Ebenezer Road in Rock Hill has been a three week labor of love for Travise Smith and members of the community.
“When I look at everything, I don’t see walls, I see the paint Lowe’s donated. I see the ceilings Lisa did. What CVS donated,” Smith said.
There are school supplies everywhere. Marker displays, folders, and hand sanitizer scattered around the floor and throughout the entire home. In the basement, a bicycle and school chairs.
This house was the original location of Sharehouse Supply Zone, and donated for just $1 by a local dentist. The Supply Zone is a 100 percent community funded project to provide Rock Hill teachers with free school supplies.
It’s a dream project for Travise, who saw the need in her community.
“There is a 9.1 percent unemployment rate. If you’re a teacher and your husband loses his job, or his wife loses her job, and you help your mom and don’t have money to buy stickers, it’s a win-win for the entire community,” she said.
According to the Department of Education, 92 percent of teachers across the country spend their own money to buy supplies for their students. Stores donated thousands of items, and dozens have pitched in over 200 volunteer hours to get the house ready.
For every two hours of donated time by teachers, or anybody in the community, a Rock Hill teacher can get one shopping trip free. Unlike other school supply programs in the Carolinas, Sharehouse Supply Zone is open to Rock Hill teachers at schools in all economic brackets.
We found Lisa Schroeder, applying a Pepto-Bismol colored paint, donated by Lowe’s to the walls of one room.
“It’s all for the kids, that’s what motivates me. I have three kids of my own. That’s why I do it.—for the kids,” Schroeder said.
But as of Tuesday afternoon, the project hit a major speed bump. The city told Travise and her fellow volunteers the building wasn’t up to code and was only slated for residential use. So with time ticking down to their September 15 grand opening, the Rock Hill school district stepped up to the plate and donated the use of an entire wing of classrooms in their Flexible Learning Center.
“We were having a major metamorphosis, but that’s okay. It’s not the important thing. The important thing is we have a location to put this wonderful, noble thing,” said Schroeder.
There’s still a need for more unique supplies, like bean bag chairs, microscopes and furniture. But despite the setback, Travise and her thousands of Facebook followers are determined to open in the new space on time.
“We will be open. We will be ready. Ribbon cutting, the mayor, everybody. We’ll be ready for the 15th," beamed Smith.
And the house that cost just $1?
The plan is for community members to step up and finish the needed renovations, and get the house up to code for a family in need to move in.
To donate time and supplies, or to learn more, check out their website http://www.sharehousesupplyzone.org/index.html