An apple for a teacher could be a serious lifesaver thanks to a new program.
Citizens Bank & Trust Company has set up “teacher trees,” similar to the angel trees seen in schools and stores around the holiday season. Paper apples with written requests for classroom supplies from teachers in various Ardmore,   Plainview and Dickson schools currently decorate Christmas trees at the front of the bank.
   Bank manager Joni Conway said the idea came from the bank’s main office in downtown Ardmore, which also delivers the new supplies to the teachers. The program is new, but Conway said the apples have been falling fast.
   “Next year we hope to be able to include even more schools, depending on how it does this year,” Conway said.
   So far, the Citizens Bank locations inside the WalMart on Commerce Street and the main bank in downtown are participating. The trees went up two weeks ago and will stay up for another four. Conway said she’s seen her location’s apples picked and replaced once now, but there are always plenty more to fill the spaces left behind.
   While it may sound counter-intuitive, most if not all teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies every year. A 2013 study by the National School Supply and Equipment Association found that teachers spent $268 of their own money on school supplies per year on average. Conway said she’s seen the burden that places on teachers firsthand.
   “I have two daughters who are teachers,” Conway said. “I know how much they spend out of pocket every year on supplies for their classrooms. They have to supply more than they should.”
   Conway said plenty of people have opted to just donate money directly instead of picking. In those cases, bank tellers just choose apples and use the money to buy the requested supplies.