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A caring community makes the holidays happier for kindergarten kids at Tallahassee's Riley Elementary School

Several people dance while dressed festively.
Tom Flanigan
After the gifts were handed out, the students and their grownup friends turned the Riley cafeteria into a dance club.

Kindergarten students at Tallahassee's Riley Elementary School left their classes on Thursday, Dec. 15, with bags full of presents. It was the result of a community-wide effort to make sure no child would go without gifts during the holidays.

Situated in the midst of the city's lowest-income areas, Riley has been adopted by several Tallahassee businesses that help provide what's needed. One of these is The Moore Agency where Shannon Smith works.

"They deserve it and they need it and it's the right thing to do. And I'm so appreciative to live in a community where that happens all the time," she commented during the gift-giving party.

Also happy was Leon School Board Member Marcus Nicholas.

"It's absolutely amazing to see the community come out and support our kindergartners at Riley Elementary School. I'm just so proud!"

After Santa and Mrs. Claus presented each child with their gift bag - which included a new cold weather coat - the celebration concluded with a dance party in the school cafeteria.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories. here.