Cicero couple making free desks for schoolchildren; need help carrying on mission

Classroom Progress Report

CICERO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — After seeing a story on World News Tonight with David Muir, a Cicero couple was inspired to make dozens of desks for schoolchildren in need. It’s something that’s happening across the country right now. However, the Carusos say the need here in Central New York continues to grow and they need help carrying on the mission.

It all started with a Facebook post. Sue Caruso posted a few desks on Facebook Marketplace that she and her husband gave away for free. Since then, they’ve built 40 desks but they’ve gotten hundreds of requests.

“We had a couple of inputs, somebody, they were doing their homework on an ironing board,” Brian Caruso said. “Somebody, they were sitting in bed and doing it, somebody else wrote to us and said my kids are on the floor.”

“Because of being a retired teacher, we wanted to have kids have a chance at home where they could sit and study and learn and we just wanted to do that,” Sue Caruso said. “One of the recipients sent us a picture of their daughter and it just made my day.”

They’ve had some help from the community. Neighbors donated money for plywood and Lowe’s gave the Carusos free paint. Other than that, Brian’s been searching for scraps of wood wherever he can find them. When people pick up the desks, there are no questions asked.

One recipient who reached out is the Youth Program Supervisor for Huntington Family Centers. They have a youth program that they’re transforming into a day program for remote learning. They’re moving to a new building on the same lot and need desks along with supplies to make it all work.

“For somebody in the community to say we are going to support you was very overwhelming,” said Kenyata Calloway, the Youth Program Supervisor for Huntington Family Centers.

The Huntington Family Centers is one of the Carusos’ last deliveries…for now. But they want others in the community to recognize the need.

“What I’m hoping is, with this interview, that somebody else will pick up on it and say, ‘I can do that, it’s a simple desk.‘ And maybe that’ll kick somebody else into gear,” Brian Caruso said.

The Carusos say they’ve gotten hundreds of requests from families and community centers in Liverpool, Camden, The Onondaga Nation, and more. The need, they say, just keeps growing.

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