Amidst sandy beaches, lush golf courses, Gilded Age mansions and tropical flowers is a less familiar Palm Beach County that is not quite as posh. Surrounded by more fortunate circumstances is the Wynnebrook Elementary School, serving students who come from families with a median income of roughly $31,000. As a Title 1 school, 93% of the students are on a free or reduced-price lunch program.

When Sweets Foundation discovered Wynnebrook Elementary, we encountered a school that was doing its best to support its disadvantaged student body. It already had a storage room dedicated to providing basic clothing and footwear for its families. However, it was not equipped to handle the volume of need.

Wynnebrook Principal shared a story with Sweets Foundation that exemplified the urgency. School leadership realized two students, who happened to be brothers, were often absent. In fact, they determined that the brothers’ absenteeism was occurring on alternate days. When delicately broaching the issue with their family, the School learned the boys were doing this strategically because they didn’t have shoes for both boys.

Through surveys and personal conversations with teachers, Sweets Foundation recognized that decent shoes and beds were a rampant issue for many of the Wynnebrook Elementary students. It set out immediately to supplement the School’s clothing supply, generating funds necessary to purchase 75 pairs of shoes and 40 sleeping bags. All of which were immediately disseminated to kids.

The joy and appreciation for this project is best depicted in a thank you letter from School volunteer and Coordinator of Business Partnerships who wrote, “I can’t begin to tell you all the smiles that you have put on children’s faces when we gave them a new pair of sneakers because the soles of their own sneakers came off!” It’s hard to fathom that students in today’s age could be participating in something such as recess, wearing sneakers without soles.

It was a pleasure for Sweets Foundation to support this worthy cause in Palm Beach County.