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Bride and groom ask for school supply donations instead of wedding gifts: 'Being a teacher, I put my heart and soul into the kids'

A Florida teacher asked for school supplies in lieu of wedding gifts. (Photo: Hillsborough Country Public Schools/Facebook)

A Florida teacher and her now-husband decided they didn’t need the typical wedding gifts like towels and dishes. Instead, Kelli and Matt Cameron decided to ask their wedding guests to donate school supplies.

“We got engaged last summer,” said Kelli Carter, a first-grade teacher at Roland Park K-8 Magnet School in Tampa, Fla., in a video posted to the Hillsborough County Public Schools Facebook page. “We had kind of been planning for a year or so, and decided we didn’t need anything specific.”

Since her school wasn’t in need of school supplies, she got in contact with a school which was. The BT Washington School provided her with a list of items that would be useful for their students, and the couple created an Amazon registry filled with requests for everything from socks and underwear to notebooks and glue sticks.

“It wasn’t much different than going online and making a [wedding] registry,” Matt Cameron said in the video. “Instead of crockpots, it was Sharpies and T-shirts and khaki shorts. I’m not surprised at all that she thought of this and went into it so passionately, because that’s what she does every day.”

Clearly, the endeavor was quite a success. The couple was married in June at the Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club in Tampa, and by the time the festivities were over, there were two or three large carts filled with school supplies being pushed out of the venue and loaded into a truck. The groom’s truck bed was also already filled with backpacks. In total, the festivities yielded 70 full backpacks for the students to use during the upcoming school year.

“Being a teacher, I put my heart and soul into the kids, and you try and give and give to them ... How wonderful it was that we were able to do that, take something that was about us and help others,” said Kelli. “The kids who get the backpacks will be excited for that first day of school, and excited that they have that new backpack and new supplies, and are ready to start the school year.”

The Hillsborough Country Public Schools were clearly proud to have Cameron as one of their own, writing, “Congratulations Kelli, and thank you for your dedication and kindness” on their Facebook page.

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