(FLORIDA TODAY) - Dwarfed inside the massive Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center, a crew of five men used a forklift to heave hundreds of boxes of surplus office supplies into a truck Friday.
Standing watch over the operation was a NASA employee, the man responsible for spending $1,005 of his own money to purchase the leftover loot at a government auction. He then donated it all to Brevard County schools.
The buzzing forklift loaded 63 shrink-wrapped pallets, each weighing 1,500 to 2,000 pounds, into the back of three AAA Mike Todisco's Moving & Storage rigs. The crew later unloaded the boxes at Gardendale Elementary School on Merritt Island, where teachers will be able to comb through the haul for needed classroom supplies.
The entire operation took hours.
Kathleen Joiner, who for 25 years has taught students at Imperial Estates Elementary in Titusville, helped coordinate the donation.
"There's a great need," she said. "These materials are a lot of the things that we used to automatically be able to order from supplies, say, 'OK, I need X-amount of boxes of markers.' We don't get that anymore."
No longer needed by NASA after massive layoffs, the supplies included anything you could find on a desk. The boxes held paint brushes, tape dispensers, computer paper. Pens and pencils. Cork boards and staplers. Somewhere between 94,500 and 126,000 pounds total.
Joiner called Mike Todisco, who donated three trucks and five of his employees to help get the supplies to the school.
"I know the school doesn't have enough funds as it is, so I figured I could help out," he said.
The man who bought and donated the supplies wanted to remain anonymous. The credit, he said, goes not to him, but to the moving company.
"If it weren't for them, this stuff would've been trash," he said.
Joiner said a district-wide email will be sent to notify teachers of an upcoming, but yet-unscheduled, distribution date.
"Anyone who touches a child's life in any way, in any capacity at all is welcome to come fill their car, their trunk," she said. "They can just take it and make sure it gets into the school system."