A local organization is making back-to-school shopping a little less stressful for teachers. NY1's Shannan Ferry filed the following report from Long Island City.
It's a shopping spree, without the guilt. Every item in a 35,000 square foot warehouse in Long Island City is free.
"It feels like Candy land kind of coming here, it's just a bunch of a mesh of so many art supplies," said shopper Steven Cardona.
But it doesn't end there, you can find everything from fabric to furniture on these shelves.
Companies and people donate unneeded supplies to 'Materials for the Arts' which is a cultural organization overseen by the city.
Those supplies get stored in the warehouse, and then it's all up for grabs for certain teachers and non-profit leaders.
"There's ribbon! And sparkly things! We're just really really grateful that this this exists," said shopper Laura Ware.
The warehouse is open year-round, but with students soon heading back to school it's busier than ever.
Many teachers said, if not for Materials for the Arts, they'd likely pay for some supplies out of their own pocket.
"I teach art and I don't have a large budget, teaching in Buschwick, so I try and get as much stuff as I can," said shopper Maggie Weber.
If you simply don't know what to do with all of the free materials, all teachers go home with a shopping bag full of lesson plans and project ideas.
"So if you get a CD case for example maybe you can turn it into a mosaic, maybe that's something that you might want to turn into a coaster," explained Kwame Belle, who is the Communications Coordinator for Materials for the Arts.
Plus, it's eco-friendly. Executive Director Harriet Taub says many of the materials available would've otherwise been thrown in the trash.
"We're keeping a million pounds out of the landfill every year, because for a lot of people this cycle of donation and reuse is not really part of their own practice," said Taub.
The warehouse is open for shopping 9 days a month by appointment. Your school or institution must be registered.