Strangers donate supplies to CES

Published 1:23 pm Thursday, August 25, 2016

Two new second-grade teachers at Cumberland Elementary School (CES) began their first year with a surprise gift.

Susan Toney, a stranger from another county, donated a van full of school supplies to the school Aug. 16, said Principal Virginia Silveira Gills.

Email newsletter signup

Toney contacted Vice Principal Kathryn Garrett about donating supplies to new teachers at the school. Schools Toney previously contacted said they did not have a need for supplies, so, after doing some research, Toney contacted CES.

“She read an article where the Backpack of Love program had come to Cumberland, so she knew there must be a need,” Gills said.

The school selected its two new-to-teaching staff members as the recipients of the gift, Garrett said.

Savannah Thomas and Megan Angle, both second-grade teachers, were called to the office and presented with the supplies.

“Little did we know, the surprise would be a van full of supplies,” said Gills. “It was seriously Christmas in August … of 2016, 2017, 2018.”

In the van were hundreds of glue sticks and markers, reams of copy paper, class sets of scissors and boxes of pencils, erasers, tissues, wipes and containers.

At first, Angle said, she wasn’t sure why she was being called to the office, but once she saw the gift, she became excited.

“When I saw the amount of supplies, I was overwhelmed with joy from the generosity,” Angle said.

“I could not believe my eyes,” Thomas added.

“I have never seen this in 27 years of being an educator. I hope I can do the same one day,” Gills said.

What makes this donation special, Gills said, is it came from a stranger with no connection to the school or county. It truly was a random act of kindness, she said.

According to Gills, Toney and retired second-grade teacher Emily Arminio collect school supplies throughout the year and then donate them to new teachers.

“They can provide most anything a teacher would want for her students,” she said.

Garrett said Toney told her this is a project she feels “very strongly about.” Toney has been collecting school supplies for teachers for several years.

“They recognize how much money our teachers spend on supplies for their students, despite having those on the ‘supply list’ that are provided by families,” Gills said.

She admitted the random act of kindness brought her to tears as the supplies will benefit not only the two teachers, but also their 40 students.

“I now have enough supplies in my classroom to give to at least three more classes in the future. I am so grateful for the kindness that was shown to Megan and me,” Thomas said.

“I wish everyone could have seen the surprise and appreciation on the teachers’ faces when they saw the van loaded with school supplies,” Garrett added.

She said the school is appreciative of Toney’s passion for helping students.

Angle said she is “thrilled to have joined such a kind community of people who truly support one another.”