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Parents collecting toiletries after Richmond schools run out of toilet paper

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond school leaders say some schools ran out of toilet paper, paper towels and soap last week, but the problem has since been fixed.

But some Richmond parents have taken matters into their own hands after not receiving answers from the school administration.

At Thea Brown's World of Mirth store on Cary Street, she is stocking up on more than toys.

Thea Brown

This week she's collecting toilet paper for Richmond Public Schools.

"I personally have gone to 11 schools today and I can tell you 100%, those schools were in dire need of supplies," said Brown.

Brown says she learned through a social media site that “a vast majority” Richmond Public Schools were out of toilet paper, paper towels and soap.

An RPS teacher, speaking at Monday’s Richmond School Board meeting said she called the administration for answers last week.

"I was told by the person answering the phone, that there were $0 dollars in the custodial budget and there were 40 orders waiting to be filled," said Mary Gresham.

Mary Gresham

The shortage prompted RPS parent Cindy Anderson to start a sign-up genius to collect supplies. Thea Brown helped collect and deliver Monday.

"People were coming out of the woodwork, and I was like, wow… this is crazy."

"There were only five schools that did not need anything," said Brown.

"We went to another school where the custodian gave us a huge hug and his eyes started to fill with tears because he had gone that morning to buy toilet paper for students with his own money," she added.

Saturday afternoon, RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras tweeted a message that supplies weren't needed.

“We don’t need folks to donate. A couple of schools had issues on Friday. That’s unacceptable and I’ve made that abundantly clear to the RPS team,” wrote Kamras.

But as Kamras listened to grievances Monday night, citizen communicated that the problem was wide spread.

Anderson says she understands the school division has a lot on their plate.

"We're just trying to help that's all anybody wants to do."

Monday evening, an RPS spokesperson said a delay in the division's order supply created the problem, but that the problem was being addressed immediately.