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SWFL mom creates school supply drive for families in need

One Charlotte County mom knows school supply costs can add up and aren’t affordable for families in our area struggling to make ends meet.

To help them, she’s collecting hundreds of backpacks, binders and more to give away in a CDC-safe drive-thru on Aug. 9 at Port Charlotte’s Seventh-day Adventist Church at 2036 Loveland Blvd.

“I enjoy seeing the kids smiling faces when they get their new backpack and I love the look on the parents’ faces when the weight has been lifted off their shoulders,” said Dannielle Roye-Harrikissoon. “There was a particular day that my daughter and I were going school shopping a couple of years ago and there was a family in front of us that only had a loaf of bread, milk on his cart and the son tugged his mother and said, ‘Mom, we gotta go school shopping too. We don’t have any school supplies,’ and she said, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t afford it,’ and that made me very sad and so I ended up buying all of her five children school supplies and when I got home it just weighed heavy on my heart like, we really need to something about this.”

That’s the inspiration behind her upcoming school supply drive. For three years now, she has brought businesses from around Charlotte County together to help hundreds of families prepare for back to school.

“Especially right now with people out of work, people not having money like they normally do, back to school this year is a lot more stressful because of COVID so Danielle doing this, to do the eye test, the haircuts, to have the backpacks, to have the food, last year I did glitter tattoos and there were volunteers beside me that did face painting,” said Jeff Webster, a drive volunteer and father. “I have a little girl that’s elementary school age and then years prior when she did the other events, I actually had a brother and sister foster set in my home.”

“Most of these families worry about where to get food let alone where to get their kids school supplies,” Roye-Harrikissoon said. “I just hope that I can continue to do this for as long as possible. It’s a passion of mine.”

A passion for helping people around her in Southwest Florida.

The drive will be Aug. 9 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and will be a drive-thru to keep everyone safe. All families must register by Aug. 3 for the event by calling 941-249-1261 for donations, and for other questions, email [email protected].

All attendees must wear a mask and remain in their vehicle for everyone’s safety. Each child must be present. There will also be some surprise giveaways for things like gift cards, hair cuts and more.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
Writer:Briana Harvath
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