Local grandma spearheads effort to get all students supplies

A southside grandmother has been stocking up on supplies for students and teachers at a Franklin elementary school, and now she is hoping to spark others to give back in the same way and spread the movement to other schools.

Barb Jankowski is widely known for her devotion to giving back to Webb Elementary, her grandchildren’s Franklin school.

For the past few months, Jankowski has been collaborating with the school’s principal Cole Zook and members of its Parent Teacher Organization to get the supply drive off the ground.

The idea was sparked when Jankowski learned from her grandchild’s teacher that some students in her class were lacking certain supplies.

When she learned some kids were going without supplies and without help from teachers or other school stakeholders, that didn’t sit well with Jankowski.

She immediately went out and bought supplies for her grandchild’s class and started making plans to supply the entire school with supplies for the upcoming school year.

Since April, she has been hitting up sales on school supplies, art supplies, backpacks, hand sanitizer, tissues and more. About 80% of the supplies Webb students will need are sitting in her garage, Jankowski said.

Armed with a list of supplies, she took to social media to enlist the help of other school stakeholders to collect the remaining 20% of supplies for Webb and potentially expand the supply drive to other schools. She is organizing the effort and sharing deals on school supplies in a Facebook group: “Supply Our Students #SOS.”

Students who have free- or reduced-price meals can get help with supplies through Franklin Community Schools, but the idea is to provide more than the bare necessities, Jankowski said.

The goal is to create a level playing field for all kids at school to set them up for success, she said.

“I put my money where my heart is,” Jankowski said.

Making sure all kids have the supplies they need is a start, she said.

Gathering supplies from those who can give relieves stress on families who are struggling to make ends meet, or to make time for gathering all the back-to-school supplies their kids need, Jankowski said.

“I never want a kid to come to school and feel like they are less than. It is hard to want to come to school when you’re in that situation,” she said.

The effort also relieves stress on teachers who feel pressured to make sure all their students have the supplies they need to complete tasks if parents don’t come through, Jankowski said. She invites teachers to share their needs, too, with hopes the community will help fill them.

More than that, the drive models what giving back looks like for the next generation, she said.

“If we show kids at a young age that people care — the community cares — they will replicate that in life,” Jankowski said.

Community members who want to help are encouraged to give to all of Franklin’s elementary schools, not just Webb. Buildings are closed for the summer until mid-July, but it isn’t too early to start gathering items, she said.

A large shipment of supplies will be coming to Webb from Jankowski’s garage after the school opens back up. That large shipment won’t be the end, Jankowski said.

“I don’t want this to end with me,” she said. “I want this to grow and be a wonderful annual event.”

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Here is a look at supplies that are needed at Franklin elementary schools:


Dry erase markers fine tip


Binders, half-inch and one inch

Glue sticks

Pink erasers

Crayons, 24 pack

No. 2 pencils

School supply boxes

Child scissors

Composition books

Colored pencils, 12 count


Pencil top erasers

Binder divider sets

Red, green and blue spiral one subject notebooks

Red, blue and green folders


Quart, sandwich and snack baggies


Hand sanitizer

Sanitizing wipes

Source: Franklin Community Schools