This is Carolina: Brunch group teams up with Lowe’s to open up opportunities for students, families

This is Carolina: Washer And Dryer Donation at School

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A group of ladies, including a few snowbirds, recently started to get together once a month.

Their brunch conversations turned into goals to help others. Because of a chance meeting, one goal was to help with Backpack Buddies and the next became making sure no child had dirty clothes.

That decision was about to make all the difference.

You wouldn’t know but 83 percent of the students at Myrtle Beach Primary are living in poverty.

Title One clerk Ashley Gentry said many live in and out of hotels, and the parents don’t have access to laundry facilities. That’s when Donna Santoro and her brunch friends decided to help once they caught wind of the situation.

"The ladies were going to buy it for the school. We were all going to chip in… until we approached Kris and John,” the brunch ladies told WMBF News.

The ladies planned to fundraise and donate the money.

Santoro met Kristopher Casto, a Lowe’s department supervisor, while looking at washers and dryers at Lowe’s. Casto had plans to do more than just help.

"They talked to us about a washer and dryer that they needed for the school… apparently the school has a lot of impoverished children,” Casto said.

He was inspired.

"I approached John with the option of donating it to the school and we were able to make it happen,” Casto, said.

“We are empowered to bring that to the community and make a difference… that’s what we’re here to do,” Lowe’s store manager John Walling said.

Lowe’s delivered.

A new washer and dryer arrived, free of charge, to Myrtle Beach Primary.

“We have a lot of students that come with jackets that need to be washed, we have a lot of students that have bathroom accidents during the day… and it would be perfect to just have that washer and dryer and throw those clothes in,” Gentry said.

It’s a new beginning for the school. No more dirty clothes, and Gentry hopes it will help relieve some stress to make ends meet for families.

“A lot of times it creates problems, and if I can take those problems out of their way and open up their day to something else like a job search or something that would be fantastic,” Gentry explained.

The school is also expanding their clothes closet.

Gentry said it means a lot to the kids. She shared a recent story with WMBF.

“The little brother here was a kindergartener and the older a first grader… and the little brother came up and said my brother really needs a new coat if you have one, Ms. Gentry. I had a Spiderman coat. Put a Spiderman coat on him and it was like he won the lottery that day. Every time I see him it’s like ‘I love my Spiderman coat.’”

The school is always accepting donations to grow the closet. Gentry said they need children’s shoes sizes 12-3, elastic shorts and pants, shirts, socks and underwear.

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