Obama Campaign Donates Campaign Office Leftovers to Schools

Schools gain office computers, desks and campaign memorabilia.

Nov. 14, 2008— -- The votes have been tabulated, the acceptance speech has been given -- the election is over.

So what happens to all the election offices across the United States that Barack Obama staffers have been working out of day and night for nearly two years?

Left behind -- as sleep-deprived campaign workers vacate the buildings -- are computers, campaign signs, buttons, file cabinets -- all remnants of a campaign done and won.

So what's a campaign to do with all this ... stuff?

The Obama campaign, well before the election was over, started putting a plan in place for all its leftovers -- one that the Obama campaign says is in alignment with a priority for President-elect Obama: education.

Working in conjunction with the nonprofit corporation, iloveschools.com, the campaign has donated items from 200 campaign offices across the country to school districts in 10 states.

"Tens of thousands of dollars of resources have been put into schools across the United States in less than four days," said Valarie Swanson, marketing director for iloveschools.com. "The Obama campaign was specific that they wanted all their resources to go to schools."

Obama transition team spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the campaign partnered with the organization to "donate extra supplies and equipment in a socially responsible way."

The Obama campaign contacted Swanson's organization a couple of weeks before the election was over, with one requirement -- that 100 percent of the leftover campaign goods from specified offices would be pumped into school districts.

Iloveschools.com found schools across the U.S. that would benefit from this donation based on geography and need.

"It was like Christmas in November," Jean Schmalzried, director of federal programs for the Sto-Rox School District in Pennsylvania, said of getting a phone call the morning after the election by an Obama staffer. "This has never happened before."

Obama's Pittsburgh campaign office donated to her school district at least five flatbed trucks of office supplies, including 12 Dell computers, multiple 17-inch LCD monitors and three printers. Much of the equipment was brand new, given to the schools unopened in boxes.

The computers' files were deleted by the Obama campaign to pass along the machines in data-less condition.

Schmalzried said the district was also invited to clear out the office of everything -- and the schools took file cabinets, file folders, paper shredders, pens, clipboards, paper, paint and butterfly clips. Much of the haul was bulk ordered by the Obama campaign and never used.

The Sto-Rox school district is in within a community stricken by poverty. There are four housing projects nearby, and 78 percent of the students in the school district rely on federally-funded school lunches.

The donation has been about more than just simple utility to the students. They are just as excited about the donor.

Old campaign signs have been a hit in the Pennsylvania school district's high schools -- with teenagers lining up by the principal's office to claim pieces of memorabilia that were donated along with the other supplies.

In the middle school library, a learning center has been set up with the donated computers. Schmalzried said the area may be nicknamed "The Obama Room," because the kids like to say they are working on Obama's computers.

The John McCain campaign has also been charitable with campaign office supplies.

Because McCain took public financing in the general election, the FEC required the campaign to try to sell anything in the offices first before giving it away. But after complying with that request, the campaign has given away unsold office furniture and supplies to several churches and schools located nearby.

ABC's Bret Hovell contributed to this report