Sonny’s Kindness Crew Fulfills Teacher Wish Lists for the New School Year

From The Smoker August 25, 2023
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Teachers hold a special place in our hearts because we know the invaluable role they play in shaping the minds of the students in our communities. Their dedication goes beyond the school, as they inspire a love for learning and instill essential life skills. They deserve endless appreciation for all that they do for their students. At times, teachers invest their own resources into making their classrooms the perfect learning environment for their students. 

As we continue celebrating teachers, the Kindness Crew wanted to do something kind for the teachers who are near and dear to them. Each crew member received $500 to fulfill the classroom wish list for a teacher they personally selected. They each made the surprise a special moment in their own way for the teachers they chose.  

Tara B. | Chief Kindness Officer  

Tara decided to divide her donation between two of her favorite teachers, aiming to make each feel genuinely valued and appreciated. She surprised each one with essential supplies from their lists, fun cupcakes, and a warm Sonny’s lunch.  

Her first recipient was Leanna W., a devoted 5th grade teacher at Skyview Elementary School. With a remarkable 11-year tenure in low-income communities in Pinellas Park, Florida, Leanna had always taught Kindergarten through 2nd grade. However, this year brought a shift to 5th grade. Recognizing the challenges of this transition, Tara was determined to ensure Leanna had all the necessary supplies to create a calm and comforting classroom for her new students. Leanna was so grateful when Tara surprised her with supplies off her wish list just in time to get the new school year started.

Another recipient of Tara’s heartwarming surprise was Kristie S., an educator at Clearwater High School. A close friend of Tara’s, Kristie frequently utilizes Sonny’s catering for their Teacher Appreciation events. Tara wanted to recognize her for being a standout teacher and always going above and beyond for her students. We are so glad she was able to surprise such a wonderful teacher and help set her students up for success.

Jessica S.| Kindness Crew – Jacksonville, FL  

Jessica had the pleasure of helping Debra T., a teacher at Deerwood Academy, fulfill her wish list. Not only has Debra been an incredible teacher for almost 40 years, but she has also worked with Sonny’s BBQ for 9 years. Jessica chose to surprise Debra because she is a single mother working two jobs to support her children. Her Sonny’s team says working with her is a true blessing because she comes to work with a smiling face and positive attitude. Debra has a passion for teaching and loves helping her students reach their full potential. Jessica knows Debra is always helping everyone around her and she wanted to return the favor by getting her all the school supplies she needed.

Greg S. | Kindness Crew – Starke, FL  

Greg’s generosity extended to two teachers who held a special place in his heart. His first recipient was Mathew D., a teacher at Bradford Middle School. As Mathew started his second year of teaching, Greg wanted to ensure he had all the necessary supplies to approach the new year with confidence and readiness. Mathew became a teacher because he is passionate about helping the young minds in his community. He enjoys building relationships with his students and watching them grow academically. He went to Bradford Middle School as a child and loves being back on his old stomping grounds to teach the next generation of leaders.

Greg also surprised first-year teacher, Chelsea L., to help her build up the perfect classroom for her new students. Chelsea is so excited to be a teacher and shape young minds. Her inspiration to become a teacher was sparked by the impactful educators who left a mark on her own life. Chelsea aims to replicate that experience for her own students, determined to be a source of guidance and inspiration in their lives. Greg wanted to make sure she was supported because It’s often hard for first-year teachers to start fresh with all new supplies. Chelsea was so happy Greg and the Sonny’s team helped her collect all the supplies she needed.  

Claudia H. | Kindness Crew – Apopka, FL  

Claudia was thrilled to surprise her former Sonny’s team member, Mike W., with a basket of essential school supplies and an Amazon gift card to get everything he needed for the upcoming school year. He’s been an economics teacher for 20 years and worked part-time at Sonny’s for 15 years. He loves working and always expresses how much he wants all his students to succeed, not only in the classroom but in life. Mike was recently in a tragic car accident leaving him with many broken ribs, punctured lungs, and needing back surgery. Due to this, he wasn’t able to go back to school shopping for his supplies and Claudia wanted to ensure he still had the opportunity to get his classroom ready in time.

The second teacher Claudia surprised was Robyn N., a second-grade teacher at Trinity Christian School. Robyn has enjoyed 38 years of teaching because she says each day of teaching is unique and full of adventures. She looks forward to seeing her students every day.  Her classroom culture is one where the students can feel safe, secure, and respected. One of her main objectives is for the students to feel the love that she has for them. The students know that she cares for them personally and will listen to them. A true testament to the difference she has made in her students’ lives is when they keep in touch with her or stop by to let her know what they are doing now and share a special memory from being in her class. Claudia was so excited to support such a deserving teacher and make her feel appreciated for all that she does for her school and for her students.

Tina B. | Kindness Crew – Nicholasville, KY  

Tina wanted to surprise Lisa S., a preschool teacher who goes above and beyond. She is always doing something funny or dressing up to encourage laughter in the classroom. She is the type of teacher who reminds students how fun learning can be. Lisa was shocked when she found out Tina was purchasing her entire wish list for her. She was so appreciative and got emotional when thanking Tina.

Michelle S. | Kindness Crew – Kingsland, GA 

Michelle surprised Amy T., a 5th grade teacher at Sugarmill Elementary. Michelle chose Amy because even though she has multiple sclerosis, she has never let it stop her from being there for her students. She is always putting them first and making sure to stay active with them at all times. Michelle was able to bring her two boxes filled with the supplies from her wish list and even brought her students some banana pudding to enjoy.

‘Q The Kindness With Us

Let’s look for opportunities to make someone’s day and #QtheKindness. In our experience, it’s the simplest thoughtful gestures that make the biggest impact. Share your story of kindness with us at

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