Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Thanks to the generosity of Western New York, the shelves of the Ken-Ton Closet didn’t stay bare for long.
After someone broke into its site at the Sheridan-Parkside Community Center and made off with most of its collection of school supplies — barely a week before the start of school — things didn’t look good for the first back-to-school season of the organization’s existence. An appeal went out to residents on behalf of the Closet, which is dedicated to providing clothing, toiletries and school supplies to children in need in the Ken-Ton community.
And the community answered.
“I feel bad in a way in a way, because there are so many people we’ll never be able to thank. There are hundreds and thousands of items,” said Jill O’Malley, director of the Ken-Ton Closet. “The response was swift, it was positive and it’s been huge.
“It’s been multi-faceted. I think what really surprised me, to be honest ... what I honestly hoped for was that parents like myself, who maybe pick up a few extra packages of crayons, would pitch in. But that’s been one of biggest surprises, that we have not only empty nesters helping, we have people who don’t have kids at all. People who just care about this.”
Donations poured in the behalf of state Sen. Mark Grisanti, Walmart, Greek to Me restaurant, the Kenmore Teachers Association, Univera Healthcare, Fidelis Care, the Town of Tonawanda police department, Northrop Grumman Corp, Buffalo State College, the Dollar Store in Del-Ton plaza, Rite Aid in Tonawanda, the Girl Scouts, KidsPlay and others.
Individuals contributed on their own or as part of other groups’ supply drives. Someone — O’Malley has no idea who — dropped off a bunch of plastic bags filled with 10 to 15 of each item on the Closet’s “needed” list.