Parent establishes Revere charity


Maggy Messner

White added a rack of formal attire to the cafeteria, allowing students to easily look at what they offer.

Following the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on March 17, 2023, a small ensemble of students marched across the auditorium stage. Revere counselor Bonnie Simonelli welcomed the students, introducing them as the student models for the Heart of Revere. Each model proudly displayed their outfit, all formal prom attire, and showed how everything they were wearing was available for free for students in need through the Heart of Revere. As students applauded their peers and took note of the resources available, Revere parent Torina White smiled from afar, seeing the impact of her work on real students. 

The Heart of Revere, which began in 2020, started as a way for students in the district to have easy access to resources they may need. Now in 2023, founder and leader White has begun work on the foundation’s first in-person location and continues to provide clothing and additional resources to families in the district. 

Torina White explained how the idea came about. 

“During my time as a PTA board member at BES and RMS, it became apparent that there was a need [for aid resources] throughout Revere Local Schools. During COVID, the need became more apparent throughout social media. I enlisted local community members to discuss and assess how to assist families. I then reached out to Bonnie Simonelli to ascertain these needs. In January 2021, Heart of Revere was established,” White said. 

Through providing clothes and other goods to those in need, White sees individual’s morales grow, an invaluable asset. 

“To assist community members in a time of need. Our mission is to help improve self-esteem, confidence and a sense of belonging. Families struggling with unmet needs, whether social or financial, potentially affect their well-being. Having the ability to provide families with items outside their means, whether to gain employment, attend social events or seasonal exploration, lessens the stress in times of difficulties,” White said. 

At-risk coordinator and counselor Bonnie Simonelli serves as the liaison between the district and the community for the Heart of Revere. She explained how she first learned about the idea. 

“White approached us the first year we had the new school, 2020, to help set up where she wanted to give away and gather clothing that was donated, including new and used, a lot of Revere wear, jerseys and stuff like that which is very costly, dresses, prom dresses,” Simonelli said.

The online site lists all available attire. (Maggy Messner)

With plans for the new high school being finalized, White had hoped the district would be able to find space to house the foundation within the high school. 

“It was going to be housed here in the aux gym. We wanted a space here at the school, but that was all they could really give. [The aux gym] just wasn’t going to work out,” Simonelli said. 

White and Simonelli continued looking and began their digital store in the meanwhile, and this year, their hopes of a physical location came to fruition. 

“Torina found a place on Ira Road and approached [the owner about using the space], and he said, ‘Yeah, you can have it.’ It’s a little building that’s being renovated,” Simonelli said. 

Having a physical location allowed the foundation to greatly expand its capabilities, however, having a property comes with its own set of challenges. 

“Everything was loaded in there, but the building did not have good heating or lighting. It wasn’t very big; it was very crowded, so [White] wrote a grant and got it. Now, this building is being renovated by a general contractor [with a Revere connection] who is doing it for free, and the kids at CVCC are coming to help,” Simonelli said.

Contractor Tim Calvey and Great Lakes Construction have been working on the building, with the help of local students involved in the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center. This gives students work experience while bettering their community. 

“We have recently been working with Josh Hayes, CVCC Assistant Principal. The Career Tech students will build the roof and install siding as well as assist with various interior projects,” White said. 

The building, which plans to open May 2023 is located at 3687 Ira Road, Bath OH and will be available by appointment only. 

Although their new building closed for renovation, White has maintained the foundation’s purpose, now digitizing all their inventory. This allows for families in need to still have access to their resources, no matter where they may be located. 

“Everything was moved to her house. She inventories everything. If you want something, you can look it up, see a picture, and she will bring it to people’s houses,” Simonelli said. 

RHS counselor Emily Rion is very grateful to have a resource dedicated to helping students in need. 

“It’s a wonderful thing we have here. They give back tremendously. They have clothes, and they’ll also help us with stuff like tickets for prom or homecoming. If I ever had a student or family in need during the holidays or anytime, I can just call them and say, ‘Can you help me with this situation?’ It’s really great,” Rion said. 

The prospect of a physical location available excites Rion even more. 

“I and the other counselors have keys to the actual place, so if I have a kid who comes in who is homeless or who needs clothes, I can show up with them there and they can get supplies. It means a lot because it’s convenient for us to get the resources for our students who have that need,” Rion said. 

This charity helps overcome the gap between school resources and federal funding, providing necessary aid to support staff such as district counselors. 

“It’s a huge relief to us support staff. It can be really hard sometimes to find resources, especially local resources at your disposal that you know you can just turn to at any time,” Rion said.

The Heart of Revere provides these goods in two main ways, both designed to optimize families’ experiences. 

“We provide free clothing, shoes and toiletries for all ages and genders. Members have two options: visit our facility for a personalized shopping-like experience or subscribe to our Heart Box clothing subscription. Applicants receive a monthly, or bi-monthly subscription of gently used clothing delivered straight to their homes. As funds allow, we also assist Revere students with costs associated with school-affiliated programs and events, as well as supplies, required novels, yearbooks and spirit wear,” White said. 

Simonelli explained how the foundation can help families no matter their situation. 

“Believe it or not, we have some people in our district that are homeless. There are people living in motels. Even if they don’t stay in Revere, if they need something, they get it. She’ll set up with pots and pans and other stuff that is donated,” Simonelli said. 

Rion agrees, noting that there are many people within the Revere district in need of basic resources such as food and clothing. The Heart of Revere is not the only charity designed to serve the Revere community. 

“It’s a need. I probably utilize the Heart of Revere weekly. Not only the Heart of Revere, we also have Power Pack, which is weekly food for families. Power Pack services weekly bags of food that they gather and distribute to families in our district every single week,” Rion said. 

Simonelli feels Revere’s atmosphere and strong academics attract lots of families. However, whether new to the district or long-time residents, these people are community members eligible for help. 

“There are people that need help. Covid changed a lot of people’s financial situation. People had to move. People are moving into the district, and a lot of people chose here because of the school district. If they’re going to pick a hotel, they’re going to pick one in Revere so their kids can go here. They become our students. They become our families. They might not stay here, but they still get help,” Simonelli said.

The Revere community has stepped up to serve all its residents. 

“The people in Revere are overly generous and when she opens it up to other people, they are going to see the generosity. When you ask for something here, it happens. It is awesome. It’s a great place. They take care of other people,” Simonelli said. 

To provide financial support, the Heart of Revere is selling Revere-inspired cookbooks. They are currently asking the Revere community for help gathering recipes for their second edition. 

“In an effort to raise funds, we are selling our Grateful Gatherings Cookbook, which is a compilation of Revere Local School teacher and staff recipes. Cookbooks can be purchased online or at The Bake Shop in Ghent for twenty dollars per book. Because of its success, we are currently in the process of publishing a second edition of Grateful Gatherings: Break Bread-Community Edition. [We are] asking all Bath and Richfield residents to submit recipes,” White said. 

To contact the Heart of Revere, email [email protected] or [email protected] or visit the guidance office for more details. For people looking to help, donations can be dropped off at Bath Elementary School, Revere Middle School and Revere High School during school hours or by residential pick-up. Each option requires scheduling via email [email protected]


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