Thomas Mifflin School’s stock-room shelves are a bit less empty today.
On Monday morning, the East Falls K-8 school received a donation of $6,000 in supplies from EJ Long, the Long Financial Group president who happens to be a neighbor of the Conrad Street institution.
Long, who said a few bucks can go a long way, recently read the school’s cry for help in The Fallser neighborhood newspaper.
His office retail supplier, Staples, helped with a discount and delivered the boxes full of fresh Sharpies, crayons, paper and more supplies to the school.
Principal Leslie Mason said the delivery came as so much of a surprise that they didn’t want to touch it at first, figuring a wrong address had been given.
Mason, who left big-ticket items like sorely needed laptops for teachers off her wishlist, figured the supplies would only last a couple months.
One noteworthy benefit of Long’s donation was printer toner that now enables teachers to print work for students. Long has lived near the school for about 15 years.
George Matysik, of the Friends of Mifflin School group, said the event was emblematic of neighbors rallying at their local public school’s time of need.
“The need for Mr. Long’s donation of supplies illustrates just how desperate things have become,” Matysik said of the “unacceptable” nature of underfunded public schools. “We shouldn’t have to appeal to the community to supply simple things like copy paper and crayons, but we do.
“The truly unfortunate thing is not every neighborhood has an EJ Long who can save the day. What we now need is our state and local leadership to step up in the same way. … We believe a strong public school is the backbone of a strong neighborhood, and in East Falls, we are dedicated to ensuring our school has the resources they need to succeed.”
Teachers agreed with that assessment.
“It will go a long way,” said third-grade teacher Nicole Boyd of the $6,000 donation.