Carole Gauronskas, the vice president of the Florida Education Association, pitched in as volunteers stuffed reusable grocery bags and delivered them to waiting cars at the second annual Gobble Event.
The event was put on by FESPA — the Flagler Educational Support Professional Association — for FESPA members. Lakisha Ayers-White, a Flagler Schools bus driver and FESPA's vice president, came up with the idea for the event and has organized it for the second year in a row.
This year, 56 FESPA families arrived at the Government Services Building on Nov. 15 to pick up the supplies for a Thanksgiving turkey dinner and all the trimmings. Over 40 volunteers helped out with the event and over 40 donors made it possible. The volunteers included National Honor Society members from Matanzas High School and Starlets from Flagler Palm Coast High.
"I wasn't able to make it last year, but I wanted to see all the work Lakisha has done. These are tough times right now. This will make a difference."
— CAROLE GAURONSKAS, Florida Education Association vice president
"I wasn't able to make it last year, but I wanted to see all the work Lakisha has done," said Gauronskas, who lives in St. Augustine and was an ESE paraprofessional for 18 years at Ketterlinus Elementary School. "These are tough times right now. This will make a difference. This is what union work is. As a union we help our brothers and sisters."
The bags included turkey, stuffing, cranberry, gravy, vegetables, mashed potatoes, pumpkin filling, evaporated milk, brownie mix, a gallon of juice, plates, cups, utensils, Lysol wipes and donated Paparazzi jewelry, Ayers-White said.
Some bags had bonus gifts. The top prize was a 46-inch TV, donated by National Teachers Associates Life Insurance Company. One bag also had a $50 gift card, six people got a gift certificate for a Subway sub and the district's transportation department donated a Ring video doorbell.
FESPA gave away 10 more turkey dinners than last year, but Ayers-White said they had to cut it off because they weren't sure if they would have enough donations to cover the higher cost of food this year. The turkeys cost $1,200, she said.
"Cheryl Massaro (Flagler School Board member) said she would help us get a better price next year," Ayers-White said. "I see that as the years go on, the FESPA Gobble Event will be growing, and with the support of the community we can keep it going."
Rusty Jewell, NTA Life; Cheryl Massaro; Lisa Torres; Publix; Thomas and Cara Kavan; Francine Knoedler; Steven Anuszczyk; Jeri Thayer; Angie Tagliaferri and family, Paparazzi Accessories; Mike Smith; Dorothy Puthe; Denise Barger; James Snow; Mary Ann Quinci-Suwinski; Emil Egasan; Dr. Dontarrious Rowls; Mike Robinson; Flagler County Schools Transportation Department; Ricardo Resto; Florida Education Association; Bob Davis; Donna Bunn; Nancy Rahme; Andy Dance; Tim Kromphardt and family; Linda Riggs Morgan; Ruth Cheney; Joy Mahan; Diana Bear; Flagler County Education Foundation; Marva Foster; Mary Harris; Darzell Warren; Kenneth Seybold; John Fanelli and family; Dorothy Murdock and Michael Lagrande; Travis Lee; Buddy Taylor Middle School; Matanzas High School National Honor Society; Tamara Whitaker; Laura Schiller; Carmen Lynn
Lakisha Ayers White, Flagler Educational Support Professional Association vice president and Flagler County Schools bus driver; Johnathan White; Carole Gauronskas, Florida Education Association vice president; Dr. Dontarrious Rowls, Flagler County Schools director of transportation; Brun Hudson, Flagler Educational Support Professional Association president; Cheryl Massaro, Flagler County School Board member; Angela Bush, Flagler Schools director of food services; Tammy Whitaker, Florida Education Association service unit director; Dennis Halle, Flagler Schools; Doug Gesek, Flagler Schools; Heather Morin, Flagler Schools; Mitzi Martinez, Flagler Schools; Nicole Chavannes-Parris, Flagler Schools; Isabel Doshier, Matanzas National Honor Society; Emilie Vedder, Matanzas National Honor Society; Dominick Nocero, Matanzas National Honor Society; Jaden Smith, Matanzas National Honor Society; Ava Taing, Matanzas National Honor Society; Gillian Moisao, Matanzas National Honor Society; Kaylee Hartline, Matanzas National Honor Society: Haley Carr, Matanzas National Honor Society; Logan Winfree, Matanzas National Honor Society; Gavin Winfree, Matanzas National Honor Society; Isabella Tietje, Matanzas National Honor Society; Kirra Taylor, Matanzas National Honor Society; Sophya Wodchis; Kaleigh Labezzetta, FPC Starlets; Alexa Reyes, FPC Starlets; Jenna Ketterer, FPC Starlets; Mya Wright, FPC Starlets; Brooklyn Wilson, FPC Starlets; Shaniyah Prophete, FPC Starlets; Phaedra Payton, FPC Starlets; Francesca Arapalea, FPC Starlets; Zenirah Nonord, FPC Starlets; Megan Stenson, FPC Starlets; Tracey and David Morris, Flagler Schools; Megan Pollack, Flagler Schools; Jerryionna Toumbs, Habitat for Humanity; Old Kings Elementary School K-Kids Club