Teacher overwhelmed with joy after seeing community help lower income students this holiday season

A San Fernando Elementary School teacher organized a donation list to provide clothing and other essentials to her students.
SAN FERNANDO, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A San Fernando Elementary School teacher is overwhelmed with joy after seeing the community effort to help underprivileged students this holiday season.

After teaching on Zoom for most of last year, kindergarten teacher Stephanie Levinson noticed many of her students needed new supplies and clothing.

"I've known for years that these children are in financially struggling houses. I know many of our students are borderline homeless or are homeless...it was a lot to see," said Levinson.

To help the students, Levinson organized a donation list on Amazon. She said she posted her list on Nextdoor and that's when the donations started coming in, with people from all over the state contributing to it in addition to other teachers at the school and local families.

"It's been my Christmas. It's been being able to tell other teachers, 'You're getting a printer' or 'You're getting a laminator' or 'Your students are getting this,' has been the best feeling and it has rejuvenated a lot of our spirits," said Levinson.

"I just want to thank everyone who's donated and we're just very appreciative, the kids are appreciative and we're just very thankful," said vice principal Jennifer Valdemar.

Levinson has been assisting her students with donations for many years. She has seen students come to school without jackets, umbrellas and school supplies.

"We needed school supplies, we needed certain things, and we couldn't provide that. I was grateful for all those donations and all those things Ms. Levinson did for our children to have a regular school year," said parent Carmen Onchi.

Levinson is expanding the donations beyond her classroom and hopes to have all 500 students take home a gift this holiday season.

"I was grateful because I got markers, ropes, shoes and art supplies," said second grade student Kimberly Vargas.

Levinson said the students really need backpacks as well as school supplies to get them through the rest of the year.

The donation list will remain on Amazon all year long, but Levinson says she hopes more donations will arrive before the students go on winter break.

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