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Appeal results ‘amazing’

Thrilled with response:Gina Spence (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A phenomenal outpouring of support for a back-to-school charity drive managed to meet the needs of every child registered with the group.

“The response from the community has been absolutely amazing; people are still sending in donations,” said activist Gina Spence, who was even contacted by an overseas uniform manufacturer looking to help.

Ms Spence’s Each One Reach One Back-To-School programme faced a daunting level of demand this year from needy families, as reported by this newspaper. After that story broke, she said, it “went viral”.

The initiative brought in a retired seamstress to help with clothing alterations on the spot as volunteers linked registered children with gift certificates and supplies, while a barber gave out haircuts.

The group passed on clothing for schools, public and private, to other charities: Family Centre, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bermuda, and the Coalition for the Protection of Children. “Even though the launch for school uniforms was just before September, people come to us for help all year round,” Ms Spence said.

“We have kept different clothes, especially winter uniforms, in airtight bins for when more help is needed. We have had an abundance — the whole community showed its generosity.”