This article tells a sad story of teachers in San Francisco who count on a yearly event called Teacher Appreciation Day to get free stuff for their students. Before the era of deep budget cuts, teachers didn’t have to forage for school supplies. But once the budget cutting started, it never ended.

The teacher in this story plans her day and figures she can visit nine stores to pick up free stuff that her students will need. But in store after store, the best she can finagle is an empty shopping bag. If her students need notebooks and pencils, teacher must pay for them out of her salary.