Early Christmas for Riley kindergarteners as Moore Agency, community raise $15,000

From Tallahassee Democrat

Christmas came early for 95 Riley Elementary School kindergarteners.

It began with the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce initiative, Classroom Connection in which local businesses support classrooms in Leon County.

The Moore Agency adopted Tameshia Griffin’s class at the beginning of the school year.

The students’ faces lit up when they saw their friends Friday morning carrying an individually wrapped gift for each one of them.

Tuesday, four Moore team members and Santa Claus brought cupcakes to decorate with the students.

As Santa spent time with each child, asking them what they wanted for Christmas, the students would also think of their family when making their requests.

Moore’s Shannon Colavecchio made a Facebook post about her time at Riley that quickly spread as friends shared her words.

“A pile of presents under the tree is not guaranteed for them. Some might not get anything,” Colavecchio wrote. “So one by one, they came up and talked to Santa. I didn’t hear all of their wishes, but I overheard some. Even the ones who asked for presents for themselves said in the next breath, ‘…and can you bring something for my brother and grandma?’ “

Colavecchio didn’t ask for donations but as her post went somewhat viral, people began asking how they could help and the donations started pouring in from across the country and even money from England.

In a matter of two days, more than $15,000 has been donated for those students.

The Moore Agency soon realized they had enough holiday cheer to share with not only Griffin’s classroom but the entire kindergarten department.

“Our agency looks like Santa’s workshop right now, with all hands on deck working to wrap presents,” said Terrie Ard, President and COO of The Moore Agency. “This community engagement to help children and families in the 32304 zip code is deeply meaningful for us because this location is close to our hearts as the longtime focus of our Moore Impact corporate social responsibility program.”

Contributions from business partners now include:

  • A large food box for each child and their family from Second Harvest of the Big Bend.
  • A Kohl’s discount of $5 off per toy and hours of shopping support from store manager Hillary Gerber.
  • A $25 gift card for each child from Publix.
  • The promise of a free cake or a dozen cupcakes to each kindergarten student for their birthday from TC Bakery.

A’Lan Jenkins, 6, had asked Santa to bring new clothes to his mother. HIs wish is coming true with a partnership from Sparkle Tallahassee and a Moore employee, his mother is receiving a $500 gift card to shop at the local boutique.

“All I can say is wow! And thank you,” said Riley Elementary School Principal Maurice Stokes. “It means so much personally to me that you all are doing this. Our children and community are so excited to receive this outpouring of love.”