Owner Sammy Mandell, 36, started the drive after his wife Molly, a former teacher, suggested it. She had watched as parents and students struggled to get the supplies needed for a new school year.
“I was just trying to be a community partner,” says Sammy Mandell, who lives in Forest Hills. “It was just a really good idea. And it helps two schools who are in need.”
Those who donate new school supplies on Monday between 5 and 8 p.m. will get a free slice of pizza with one topping. Supplies can include pencils, pens, folders, paper, hand sanitizer or Mandell’s favorite, crayons. If you need inspiration, check out one of the local big-box stores; each one usually has supply lists for the schools in their neighborhoods.
They take other kinds of paper, too.
“When people give cash donations, we match,” says Mandell, adding that they’ve given between $3,000 and $4,000 over the five years of the drive.
“I was born off Buckner and Oates Drive,” he says. “Going to Truett was a couple of turns away.”
He’s more than happy to help his alma mater and Zaragoza, where his wife taught kindergarten and pre-K.
“It was fun walking in and dropping all the stuff off,” he says of previous drives.
GAPCo will celebrate its 12-year anniversary in October. This is the fifth year for the drive at 1923 Greenville Ave. and the second at the newest location at 1145 Peavy Road. (“We knew we wanted to put the second location in our neighborhood,” Mandell says.)
The schools support the drives, too. Mandell says staff “from principal to the faculty” show up. He and his wife will be there, too. Actually, he’ll “be bouncing back and forth” from one location to the next.
It’s fun, Mandell says.
“Who doesn’t love pizza and who doesn’t love helping kids?”