Young men give school bags, supplies

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan Diontaye Edmonds, left, led the project to give bookbags and school supplies to children. Za’Quan Farrow was happy to accept his gift.

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Diontaye Edmonds, left, led the project to give bookbags and school supplies to children. Za’Quan Farrow was happy to accept his gift.

CAMBRIDGE – Diontaye Edmonds had tears in his eyes.

Now, he’s a soldier and a boxer, so make no mistake – he’s as tough as anybody. But it was a special moment in Cornish Park on Thursday, enough to touch the heart of even a warrior.

People didn’t do this for us,” Mr. Edmonds said, remembering his own childhood.

He was referring to a school supply giveaway he and four of his friends had planned and paid for themselves, an event that grew into a celebration of community and simply a happy day for more than 100 children.

Mr. Edmonds, Kevonta Cropper, Chris McCoy, Marshawn Bonner and Davonte Brooks grew up in the neighborhood, and wanted to give back somehow. With Mr. Edmonds and Mr. Cropper home on leave from the Army, they joined forces with their friends to make it happen.

After spreading the word, and seeing their concept grow to include a meal of hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and drinks, about 200 people had gathered in the park by the time the fun began.

That’s when Mr. Edmonds, speaking to a visitor, grew emotional at the thought of the happy children receiving gifts. He was far from the only one touched by the moment.

It feels like an achievement in life to me, to give back,” Mr. McCoy said. “An uplifting feeling inside of me.”

Mr. Cropper said, “I grew up in this community. I felt like there weren’t enough people giving back. We figured it was a great thing to do, and we made it happen.”

It was paid for by the men themselves. “We put our own bread into this,” Mr. Bonner said.

Missy Brown was among the participants. “It means a lot,” she said. “I’m so proud of them.”

Mr. Edmonds plans to do more for local children in the future.

Just make a difference,” he said. “So they can see positive people in their lives.”

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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