It's the time of year when parents can be found wandering the aisles of big-box stores with long lists of school supplies in hand, loading carts with pre-sharpened #2 pencils, Expo markers, boxes of tissues, and eight bazillion glue sticks. It all adds up pretty quickly.
But you won't find comedian and mom of three Dena Blizzard complaining about the price of school supplies. In a mega-viral 2017 video on Facebook with over 40 million combined views and hundreds of thousands of likes and shares, Blizzard took her audience with her on a back-to-school shopping trip to Target, declaring that she would buy teachers anything they want because they have the daunting task of teaching her children for nine months — and that means she doesn't have to do it herself.
"I've been noticing lately, when people are doing their back to school shopping, everybody's complaining," Blizzard says as she pushes her cart through the store. "And my thing is... Listen. It's the end of August. I will give you anything to take my kids. I'll get you a yellow binder or get you a red binder."
Blizzard even throws a microwave and some luggage in her cart — "You want some luggage? You going somewhere? Want Spring Break, teacher? I'm gonna get you some luggage," she says.
The funny mom went on to say she has heard parents complaining about buying Kleenex or pencils for their children's classes. "You can't give that teacher some Kleenex?" she asks. "These teachers have been making plans to teach your kids, and you complain about some pencils?!"
Blizzard told TODAY Parents that she was inspired to make the video because of her personal experiences. "My sister Nicole DelGaudio is a 5th grade teacher at Thoroughgood Elementary in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and I see how hard she works for her students and her own kids. It's not easy," she said. "When I heard parents complaining, it just made me so mad."
Because her youngest child has some learning disabilities, Blizzard said she values teachers even more. "I work so hard with my daughter to figure out her beautiful and lovely brain, so anyone that is willing to help me do that is my hero," she said. "I'll get them whatever they need. We are partners in educating my kids."
This is not the first time Blizzard has gone viral. Last summer, the mom from Mooresville, New Jersey, made a parody of Pokemon Go for moms, "Chardonnay Go," that spread across the internet. She also hosts a weekly Facebook live show on Tuesday evenings called "Tipsy Tuesday." "We laugh, we drink wine, and we don't wear our bras," she told TODAY Parents. "I love making moms and women laugh. Life isn't easy, so I do my best to help make people laugh."
But though her school supplies video is making people laugh too, Blizzard had a bigger goal when she made it: honoring teachers. "It needed to be said," she said. "I've gotten so many emails from people saying, 'I've never really thought about it that way... I'm going to buy more pencils!'"
Editor's note: This story was first published on August 28, 2017.