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Anonymous Donor Becomes Santa for Tracey School

Tracey Elementary School social worker Shirley Carlos teared up as she told her school’s magical Christmas story.  An anonymous donor came to the school Tuesday morning with enough clothing, toys, and food for 17 families, as well as $1,200 in gift certificates. Bags and bags full of cereals, sweaters, books, blankets, pasta and wrapping paper filled a basement room at the school.

The donor, who doesn’t live in Norwalk and insists on being anonymous, had heard about the needs of some Tracey families.  “She usually donates to organizations, but this year she and her husband wanted to know who exactly they were helping,” says Carlos.  “This made it personal for them.”

The spirit of giving is not new to the Tracey community.  The school has its own longstanding holiday tradition -- the Giving Tree.  Carlos and school secretary Donna Riddell identify specific needs of children and families.   They are written on slips of paper and hung as ornaments on a tapestry-like tree hung outside the school office.  Parents and staff contribute gifts anonymously.  The school usually has enough to help 6 to 10 families.  “The past couple of years have been tough and the giving has not been as plentiful,” says Carlos.  “The need is increasing in this community.”

“This donation is unusual,” admits Riddell.  “I’ve haven’t seen anything like it in 20 years.”   The donor would like this donation to be the start of a longer term relationship with Tracey, says Carlos.  “She said she doesn’t want to stop.  She’s thinking about helping out with things like lunch or sneakers.”

“It’s so amazing that someone would care so much,” says Carlos.

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