Last month, a business owner and family friend of Kelly Truex, principal of Garfield Elementary School, called her and asked what her students needed.
With the temperatures beginning to drop, the students at the school on North Gilbert Street needed to be able to stay warm.
Truex went shopping with the business owner, who wished to remain anonymous, and bought 60 coats, hats, gloves and pairs of shoes. It was enough to outfit 10 children — five boys and five girls — in each grade level at the school.
“It is remarkable,” Truex said of the donation.
Another local business owner, Terry Jackson of Better Better Detailers on East Main Street, and shop supervisor James Smith bought 30 coats — all with matching hats and gloves — for Meade Park Elementary School students using proceeds from Jackson’s barbecue sales held regularly at the auto detailing shop.
Jackson’s children are all grown, but still he recognized a need in the community and wanted to help as many children as he could.
“I want to help the kids out ... as many as I can,” he said. “My plan is to go through every school to help.
“Those kids need help,” he continued. “I’m going to reach out to those kids because they’re our future.”
Meade Park Principal Mendy Spesard said Jackson and Smith’s donation of coats, hats and gloves came as a “complete and utter surprise.”
“We got them last month when the weather started to turn,” she said. “We give them away on an as-needed basis.
“Some of our children don’t have nice coats,” she added. “The zippers might not zip up anymore or the coat is missing buttons.”
When a child receives one of the new coats, “their face just lights up like it’s Christmas.”
In addition, Spesard noted that Jackson also has “dropped off two very large boxes of school supplies.”