CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Teachers need all the help they can get to be better prepared in the classroom. From essential supplies like paper and pencils to the necessary materials for crafts and projects, it can be difficult for hard-working teachers to have everything they need.
Which is why IKEA partnered with WCNC for a Teacher Appreciation Day giving teachers and the community a good reason to shop 'til they drop.
"Teachers love IKEA and IKEA loves teachers," said one store employee.
PHOTOS: IKEA teams with WCNC for teacher appreciation event
The first 300 teachers got a swag bag that included classroom essentials. And that's only the start. The day had raffles and workshops for teachers; there's even a coupon for free food!
"Teachers work so hard in our community and many times, teachers are unsung heroes. They are the ones bringing up the next generation," said an IKEA spokesperson.
There was also a school supply drive through Classroom Central. Every dollar donated to Classroom Central at Friday's event will turn into $9 worth of supplies distributed to teachers in the Charlotte area.
Friday's event ran from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. and several WCNC anchors and reporters were there, including the Wake Up Charlotte team of Carolyn Bruck, Rachel Lundberg, Ben Thompson and Larry Sprinkle.
Teachers lined up early to start the day, there were almost 100 in line before the store opened. One IKEA employee said there were close to 400 teachers.
Teachers from all over were treated with free lunch, as well as hourly raffles.
"Being a teacher is really a calling, we don't make a lot of money so we are on that discount thing," one teacher said.
The teacher appreciation didn't stop at 4 p.m. Friday, though. Teacher Appreciation Weekend goes through Saturday and Sunday, and anyone wanting to help can place any school supplies in the bin at the gateway inside IKEA.