Woman raises money for school supplies, lifting back-to-school burden off Harvey-impacted families in Dickinson

SANTA FE, Texas (KTRK) -- One woman didn't want Dickinson families to choose between a sink or backpack.

Over the summer, Melisa Deflora raised money for school supplies, eventually stuffing more than 100 backpacks with back-to-school necessities.

"It's not the entire list of school supplies. You should see those lists," Deflora said. "But it's something."

To Deflora, it's something to give a boost to families that still need it. Deflora lives in Webster, but has spent the past year helping Dickinson families after Hurricane Harvey.

"When one person says it, I think, 'Okay, maybe that's just one family,'" Deflora said. "But when a lot of people say, 'Hey, I need school supplies too. I need school supplies too,' I knew that they needed school supplies."

Deflora raised nearly $900, which she turned into 120 backpacks.

"It's not their fault that the hurricane came," Deflora said. "It's not their fault that families are struggling."

The decision to do this was easy, but fulfilling the promise has its challenges. After stuffing each bag, she wheeled a cart and virtually played Jenga to try and make room for each one.

"You should've seen it when I did it in the Honda Fit," Deflora said.

The bags aren't going to just one school. Deflora is spreading the love to public, charter, and Christian schools.

At Pine Drive Christian Academy, staff happily unloaded the unexpected donation.

The academy is an example of how far the community is from being back. A year after Harvey, the school is months away from using the lower level of the campus.

"The electricity is all good," Lynn Dietz said, of Pine Drive Christian Academy. "The lighting is all good. We've got plumbing. All that's done. But (we) have no flooring. We have windows we have to repair."

This kind of work isn't only happening at the school. Many of the students' families are still rebuilding.

"If a parent doesn't have to buy school supplies for their kids and they have a brand new backpack, it's like a brand new pair of shoes. It makes them proud and happy," Dietz said.

Closing the burden is why Deflora is doing this.

"I don't want to do this stuff, but God tells me to," said Deflora, a woman of faith whose higher calling will answer the prayers so many in Dickinson still need answered.

"It's mainly about telling everyone that we're in the same boat, and that it's going to be okay," Deflora said.

Thanks to Deflora, at least for this school year, it will be okay.

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