OMAHA, Neb., May 11, 2022 — Alpaca, a new Omaha company, is on a mission to give parents easy ways to support their teachers through a simple school supply subscription model.
The approach is straightforward: parents subscribe to their school and every teacher receives a care package each month of supplies and teacher appreciation. Classroom teachers spend at least $750 per year out of pocket for supplies for their classrooms. Alpaca’s teacher-first business model aims to reduce that spend — and decrease teacher burnout.
The monthly packs are handpicked by local teachers who suggest supplies that teachers need at different times of the year. Because the company purchases supplies in bulk and has sponsors who add free items, Alpaca delivers $2 in value for every $1 in subscription. Past packs have included dry erase markers and other classroom necessities, teacher wellness supplies in cold and flu season, and teacher appreciation gifts like Hardy Coffee gift cards.
Alpaca’s subscribers are parents and community members who want to help but need simple and accessible ways to support their teachers and schools, no bake sale required. The team at Alpaca believes in the power of using small gestures to make big change.
Founder and CEO Karen Borchert started Alpaca during her time as a treasurer of the PTO at Washington Elementary School in Omaha. A former executive in software companies like Flywheel, she was looking for a way for parents to easily support teachers through a simple website and subscription model. “It should be as easy to support our teachers as it is to subscribe to Netflix,” she noted.
What started as a project in January 2022 has grown to six pilot schools in Omaha Public Schools. Alpaca is currently serving elementary school classrooms and plans to be active in 25 area schools by the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year. They have a plan to expand to middle and high schools by the end of the year, and to ensure that every school in Omaha has access to the program.
“We believe in elevating all educators by mobilizing parent communities in a way that is easy and equitable for everyone,” Borchert said. “Will a simple pack of supplies solve all of the challenges teachers face? Maybe not. But can it engage a community of parents to provide a small monthly gesture that supports teacher satisfaction and well-being? We think so, and we’re excited to see what that community can build together.”
Parents or teachers can nominate their schools to receive supplies from Alpaca by visiting alpacapacks.com. Alpaca works closely with principals to understand what each school needs, encourages parents to subscribe, and then delivers delightful packs of supplies and teacher appreciation every month.
“The vision is that every teacher and school in our community will benefit from this work,” Borchert said. “This is just the beginning.” On Thursday, May 12, Alpaca will host its final “packout” of the school year, as parents from two member schools help pack supplies for May care packages, with delivery to follow.
Members of the press are welcome and encouraged to see the packout process and connect with the Alpaca team during this time. Please join us at the Alpaca headquarters (1229 Millwork Avenue, in the Ashton Building) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday, or contact