HOUSTON (KTRK) -- As she scanned across her tidy portable classroom, Kelsey Morace is eager for school to begin. Though a few weeks ago, this first year teacher wasn't sure her students would get all the supplies they needed.
"I started making lists (of school supplies) and thought, this really adds up!"
Undeterred, the recent college grad turned to the internet and the website gofundme.com. She set up an account, with the goal of raising $500. She explained on the site that she will use the money to buy supplies for her classroom.
"The first day when I got that $50, it was cool, then it grew from there," said Morace, who signed up to teach at Pugh Elementary in Houston's Denver Harbor neighborhood. "It was $100, $50, $10, it was overwhelming but exciting to see the support!"
Morace soon reached her $500 goal, and she had company.
Across town at Law Elementary, fourth grade teacher Tiarra Mendevil got the same idea. She knew she couldn't alone buy everything she needed for her classroom.
"It was expensive and I couldn't figure out any other way," said Mendevil, who is also starting her first year of teaching. "I had seen somebody use gofundme.com before and I said I'd try it."
Mendevil's mother tried to dissuade her daughter from starting the account because she didn't think anyone would donate. Fortunately, her daughter didn't listen and set up an account. Within a few weeks, she raised $490. Wanting to make the money go far, she price compared for a week before buying supplies.
"Pencils, pens, crayons, markers, paper, notebooks, anything I could think of a child might need,"
Both Mendevil and Morace say they knew going into their profession that public school budgets are stretched thin. Teacher salaries and school funding have been hot topics across Texas. Until school funding catches up with the need, the teachers say they're just grateful for friends and strangers who are willing to help.
"It really showed they really do support teachers and if you ask for help you'll get it," says Morace, as she gently puts her books into just the right place. Now, she is ready for the first day of school.