Schoolkids flock to supply giveaway

MHES aide conducted drive with help of family, friends and many donors

MOORE HAVEN — Over 100 schoolchildren in Moore Haven enjoyed a special “Back to School Bash” last weekend, courtesy of Glades County School District paraprofessional Shon Croskey and a small multitude of like-minded citizens who donated school supplies and cash to her cause.

A resident of Moore Haven and a single mother herself, Miss Croskey is a paraprofessional in the Voluntary Pre-K Department at Moore Haven Elementary School. She had conceived of the idea a couple of years back, and tapped members of her family as well as friends and acquaintances to donate items to help assist parents like her in getting their children ready for the new school year.

Special to the Glades County Democrat/Courtesy photo
Shon Croskey (at right) and her “favorite cousin,” Tony L. Patrick (left) organized the Moore Haven Back-to-School Bash that took place at the Washington Park Community Center on Sunday afternoon.

“I don’t know where to begin, but I will start off by giving thanks to God for allowing my vision to finally come true. After bugging my favorite cousin, Tony L. Patrick, for two years about doing the back-to-school drive, we finally took that leap and it all came out according to plan,” she said.

Miss Croskey and a bunch of helpers including her cousin converged at the Washington Park Community Center on Gamble Street at midafternoon Sunday to set up, and began welcoming children and their parents at 4:30.

“We gave away free school supplies to all the grades, kindergarten through 12th grade. We had backpacks, all the supplies you can think of; we had T-shirts; and I conducted a raffle for all the gift certificates that I received from different businesses around town,” she said.

Special to the Glades County Democrat/Courtesy photos
They raffled off a slew of gift cards, and here are two of the happy recipients. Several kids also got free haircuts courtesy of two barbers, Anthony Holley and Jacob Smith, who donated their services, and two little girls had their hair braided by Darcel Kelly Hairstyles (not shown).

After she realized some time ago how costly it was to get kids what they need on a single person’s salary, she decided to do this to help families with kids in the Glades County schools.

“We decided to put on the drive for this year. And it has been a very, I mean a BIG success,” Miss Croskey said. “The outpouring of support from so many people all over was amazing. Tony and I and our dream team would like to thank everybody who played a part in our event.”

She said she’d even received “packages delivered by Amazon from former Moore Haven residents that used to live here years ago,” adding, “Different people in the community have been reaching out to me, buying stuff.”

Now entering her second year with the Glades County school system, she said she’ll continue to do this in future years. “We are ready for next year, with supplies already packed up,” she said.

Among those Miss Croskey wanted to thank, she said, are: “The BP/Shell station here, which is owned by (Glades County Board Chairman) John Ahern, gave a couple of big gift cards. I got Subway gift cards from Leslie Pryor, and Commissioner (Weston) Pryor gave gift cards. The supervisor of elections, Miss Aletris Farnam, donated supplies. Ms. Patricia Pearce, who’s running for School Board District 5, she brought tons and tons — I mean, loaded my car down — of supplies from her and her husband.

“We had gift cards to raffle off from Subway, Shell gas station, iTunes, Regal Cinema, Dollar General and Texas Roadhouse Grill. We had two barbers cutting hair for free. It was a big success!”

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