BALOG COLUMN: Breakfast with Mayor Summey nourishes Teachers Supply Closet
Usually the only breakfast offered at Cork in Park Circle comes in the form of Saturday brunch.
But Friday, Tradd Gibbs was happy to open early and donate his restaurant for a worthy cause, breakfast with North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey.
The fundraiser for the Teachers Supply Closet was well attended — so well attended that they had to go get more food less than halfway through.
Several North Charleston schools benefit from the nonprofit, so Summey was happy to help. And the group needs all the help it can get.
The breakfast with Summey was scheduled before Isaac caused the ceiling to cave in and flood the charity's storage area at the end of August, just as school was starting. The group did lose some inventory, but the attention generated by its temporary misfortune may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it raised awareness about the group and its mission.
Right tools for the job
How well would you function in your job without the right tools? A mechanic can't repair a car without wrenches; an accountant can't do your taxes without a calculator; a photographer can't take pictures without a camera.
Students can't learn without paper and pencils.
And that's what the Teachers Supply Closet does: It provides the basic tools for students in high-poverty schools. Right now that's more than 20 schools in Charleston County and a handful in Berkeley and Dorchester counties.
“With the basic supplies provided, it takes the stress off the teachers, it takes the stress of the children,” said Deborah Halon, the group's chief operating officer.
They'd like to expand from schools with 88 percent poverty index to those with 70 percent poverty index, but that would require more donations and more funding (hint, hint).
Pepperhill Elementary teacher Kathy Kackley brought fifth-grader NyAsia Benjamin to the breakfast. “It's a blessing for our school, for all of our children,” Kackley said. “We need lots of supplies.” She was already looking forward to returning to the shop in October.
If you missed Friday's breakfast, there are other ways to help, including a golf tournament on Oct. 1 and a 5k on Nov. 10. And yes, they take donations big and small. (For more information, visit teacherssupplycloset.org or call 843-225-9895.)
Adding it up
About a dozen staffers from the mayor's office did the cooking and coordinating Friday morning. They were easy to spot, most were wearing North Charleston 40th anniversary tie-dye T-shirts.
Pat Pontieri was on hashbrown duty, and pretty much summed up the reason to be there: “The future sits in the classroom today.”
She needn't have worried.
They were still taking donations Friday afternoon at the mayor's office, but officials estimated that about $2,000 was raised for the charity.
Not bad for two hours of serving eggs, bacon and biscuits.
Reach Digital Editor Melanie Balog at email@example.com or 937-5565.