Tools for Learning

Providing free school supplies to teachers at high poverty schools

Mission Statement

Pencils & Paper serves the educational and creative needs of children in the Greater Rochester Area by providing free school supplies to teachers at high poverty schools.

Pencils & Paper 

Over 50% of Rochester’s children live in poverty. Rochester's child poverty rate is the second-highest among U.S. cities with a population of 200,000 or more.
It is hard to imagine a child who does not have a pencil and paper to complete basic daily lessons, and yet every day in public, private, charter and parochial schools in our community, children of all ages attend class without the most basic supplies needed to be successful in school. Moreover, dedicated teachers often spend between $500 and $1,200 of their own money each school year to insure that the students in their classrooms have the tools they need to learn. 

We are Grateful to our Major Donors

  • Max A. Adler Charitable Foundation
  • Anonymous
  • EMCO Carpeting
  • Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
  • Max & Marian Farash Charitable Foundation
  • Harold S. Feinbloom Charitable Lead Trust
  • Goldberg Family Foundation
  • William and Shelia Konar Foundation
  • Rochester Area Community Foundation - NextGen Giving Circle
  • TaGex Brands
  • Summers Foundation, Inc.
  • Samloff Family Fund
  • Louis S. & Molly B. Wolk Foundaton
  • Wegmans

Volunteer Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at Pencils & Paper.  There is a lot to do to help provide basic learning tools to kids in need in our community!
Ways for Volunteers to help:

Store Helpers – Help with re-stocking shelves and teacher check-in and check-out

Tuesdays   3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Thursdays 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Saturdays  9:00 am – Noon

Inventory Helpers – Help sort product and prepare the store for teacher shopping
Monday – Thursday
9:00 am – Noon

Warehouse Helpers – Check in new inventory and help with warehouse organization
Monday – Thursday
9:00 am – Noon

Packaging Helpers – Package items for the store (you can do this while seated in our volunteer workroom)
Monday – Thursday
9:00 am – Noon 

To join us in helping, please contact Howard Grossman at or at (585) 736-4610.

Register online to become a Pencils & Paper volunteer by clicking on the heart. Volunteer.png 

Online Volunteer Application

Who Will Be Invited to Shop?

Teachers from schools in Monroe County with 70% or more of students being eligible for free and reduced meal programs, will be invited to enroll and shop first.

Teachers from enrolled schools are eligible to shop for free school supplies once per semester.  As Pencils & Paper capacity grows, additional schools will be enrolled for shopping privileges.

What is Available at a Shopping Session?

Pencils & Paper is stocked with basic classroom supplies such as pencils, paper, pens, glue, markers, art supplies, tissues, tooth paste and toothbrushes and much, much more (most items are new).

There is no cash register and everything in the store is free.  Items can only be used for the benefit of your students and classroom.

When Can Teachers Shop?

Shopping hours are as scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and select Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon from late August to May.

Where is Pencils & Paper Located?

Pencils & Paper is located at Water Tower Park, 1099 Jay Street, Building N just off 490 (Exit at Ames St or Mt Read Blvd). Our parking may be limited on weekdays, so please consider carpooling.

How Can Teachers Sign Up to Shop?

We will provide teachers from eligible schools website access to enroll and sign up for shopping sessions. Teachers form eligible schools can press on the shopping cart to register and then sign-up for a shopping slot.Shop_Online_64-(3).png