Bay Area schools benefit from FOX 13, Publix 'Tools for Back to School' campaign

It's a different kind of school year for Mort Elementary kindergarten teacher, Muna Salah, as she packs supplies for her students in individual bags.

She has an area she calls the sanitizing station, with hand sanitizer and facemasks for kids who need them.

She wants to make sure her kids have not only a good, but safe, education.

"Each student will have their own IPad to use every single day and they'll be sanitizing and cleaning it every single day," said Salah.

"I needed to think about ways I could easily clean, things that students could use only for them, so I needed a lot of supplies."

Teachers like Salah rely on donations and sometimes dig into their own pockets to make sure their students have what they need.

This year, FOX 13 teamed up with Publix for the Tools for Back to School campaign.

Viewers and Publix customers were asked to donate at the registers if they could. The donations provide funding for supplies for schools in need.

Customers found it in their hearts to give all across the Bay Area, in a time that's been financially difficult for many.

"A little more than $300,000," explained Brian West, the community relations manager for Publix.

Almost $23,000 is for Hillsborough County, alone.

"When I heard the amount that was being donated it was overwhelming. It's amazing to be part of a community that sees and understands the importance of giving back to the people in our community," said Paul Casebolt, the chief programs officer for the Hillsborough Education Foundation.

Mort Elementary is just one of the many schools benefiting.

Publix presented them with 72 $20 gift cards for teachers to use for their students.

"All donated through our register campaign from the pockets of our customers. They are the ones to thank for all of this", said West. 

It's these kinds of donations that give teachers and their students' families peace of mind.

"The fact that I can tell parents don't worry about supplies we've got you covered means so much to me because it really does take a village to care and shape our students", said Salah.

For information about your local education foundation and how to donate,