1. Education

Newlyweds asked guests to bring school supplies to their wedding in place of gifts

Published Aug. 5

Kelli Cameron and her husband, Matt, didn't need new pots and pans. They already had a coffee maker and a blender.

What they really wanted for their wedding was a chance to help others.

So, instead of gifts, the couple asked guests to purchase school supplies for needy children.

Kelli, a first-grade teacher at Roland Park, reached out to people she knew at the school to see which others in the county might be in need of supplies.

The couple then contacted Booker T. Washington Elementary and got a list of items it needed.

A registry on Amazon made it easy for wedding guests to find the right supplies.

"It wasn't much different than going online and making a registry," Matt Cameron said in a video posted on Facebook by Hillsborough County Public Schools. "Instead of crockpots, it was Sharpies and t-shirts and khaki shorts."

The idea worked so well, that at the end of the wedding, two or three large carts filled with backpacks were pushed out of the venue and loaded into Matt's truck. They have since been delivered to the school.

"How wonderful it was that we are able to do that, take something that was about us and kind of help others," Kelli said in the video. "The kids that get the backpacks will be excited for that first day of school and excited that they have a new backpack and new supplies and are ready to start the school year."

Kelli's thoughtfulness was nothing new to Matt.

"I'm not surprised at all that she came up with this and went into it so passionately," he said, "because that's what she does every day."


  1. Pasco County school bus drivers are among the district employees who will be voting on a tentative contract that includes 3.25 percent raises.
    They vote on their contract before leaving for winter break.
  2. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
    The sides have not set a new date for negotiations.
  3. Tony Pirotta, right, meets with his Armwood High Ought to be a Law student club and state Rep. Susan Valdes to talk strategy for the group's latest legislative proposal. They presented their bill to state senators on Dec. 9. [JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  4. Florida's Baker Act was written in 1971 by Maxine Baker, a 65-year-old grandmother and a freshman Florida legislator from Miami-Dade County, seen here in a 1965 photo. [Associated Press]
    The law was written in 1971 by Maxine Baker, then a freshman legislator from Miami-Dade County who pushed for the rights of people with mental illness.
  5. Sarah Henderson with her son, Braden, who was committed under the Baker Act after a joking remark at school. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    A cop car comes. A child is handcuffed and taken to a mental health facility. The scene is all too frequent at public schools across the state.
  6. The government program provides free lunches in schools that qualify, regardless of a student's family income. The idea is to erase a stigma.
    One manager lost her job, accused of taking advantage of the program she oversaw.
  7. Sally Henderson, a Hillsborough County teacher, is one of the few Florida educators to earn National Board certification since 2015.
    The state still has more teachers in the program than all states except North Carolina.
  8. Staci Plonsky holds art from son A.J., who has autism, that depicts his memory of being taken by the school resource officer to a mental health facility under Florida's Baker Act law. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  9. A school bus travels the early morning streets of Pasco County on the way to the first day of classes in 2017.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. Transgender student Drew Adams speaks with reporters outside of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Adam's fight over school restrooms came before a federal appeals court Thursday, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling. Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High in Ponte Vedra, Fla., won a lower court ruling last year ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys' restroom. The district has since appealed. [RON HARRIS  |  AP]
    The closely watched case of Drew Adams, once a high school student in Florida, is heard by a three-judge panel in Atlanta.