A collaboration between local businesses has ensured additional personal protective equipment for every Frisco ISD classroom at the start of the 2020-21 school year.

Leaders at management consulting company Altair Global, which moved its headquarters to Frisco about a year ago, started the effort “Operation Better Together” and brought over 20 local businesses together to fund and gather materials for over 4,500 kits for FISD teachers.

Altair Global CEO Chad Sterling said the effort began around a month ago, when a few employees noted the anxiety and uncertainty among teachers who were returning to the classroom.

“Their love of teaching came through; they wanted to be there, but there was just a nervousness about it,” Sterling said. “It began with, ‘How can we help?’”

Sterling said the effort was initially targeted at donating protective equipment to a few schools near Altair Global’s offices. But as Altair Global reached out to businesses to help pull funds in, he said the support was overwhelming.

“We quickly realized after five or six days and making a few phone calls that there were lots of people that wanted to help,” Sterling said.

Altair Global then partnered with local electric cooperative CoServ, which helped with logistical planning and amassing funding.

“We had enough [funding] where we could outfit every classroom in FISD with a PPE kit,” Sterling said.

On Sept. 1, Altair Global, CoServ and businesses such as Hall Group and FC Dallas gathered at Hall Park to pack the kits, which contain hand sanitizer, face masks, gloves, water bottles and gift cards in a lunch cooler.

Barbara Milo, Hall Park’s director of park experience, said the office park was “excited” at the opportunity to provide a venue for the packing event.

“We want the teachers to have a great year, a safe year,” Milo said at the Sept. 1 event. “It’s not easy on them, so we want them to know that we’re thinking of them; we are here for them whenever throughout the year if they need us.”

Playing a role in “Operation Better Together” fit right into CoServ’s efforts in the Frisco community, Energy Education Lead Randy Copeland said.

“We always do community events, and since this had to do with school districts and we tend to do a lot with schools to educate them on energy, safety and stuff like that, we jumped aboard,” Copeland said at the event.

After packing the kits, Sterling said the over 4,500 kits were packed into trucks and delivered to every FISD school Sept. 4. The district reopened schools Sept. 3 after three weeks of virtual learning.

“It shows teachers, who are such an important part of any community, that businesses are behind them,” he said.