TAMPA (FOX 13) - Easter came early for some students at Sheehy Elementary in Tampa.
Brent Walker, a fifth-grade teacher, wanted to do something special for his students. On Wednesday, he walked into the Walmart on Gandy Boulevard to buy plastic eggs for an Easter egg hunt. When he saw Easter baskets, he wished he could buy some for the 20 students in his homeroom class.
He decided to go on Facebook and ask his friends if they would sponsor a student. Within an hour, he raised $700, and a few hours later, he raised almost $1,200.
"Because of you," Walker wrote on his Facebook page. "I was able to purchase baskets not just for my homeroom, but for all three 5th Grade classes - 63 students total...Thank you. My heart is full."
Walker told FOX 13 he teaches math to all of the fifth-graders, so "they're all my students." He ended up leaving Walmart with five carts full of Easter baskets. The store even gave a 10 percent discount. Employees helped him pack all of them into his car.
"A big shout-out goes to my Honda Civic. Even though she is small, she has proven herself mighty," Walker said on Facebook. "We were able to get all of the baskets in one trip, although I do give some credit to the many hours I have spent playing Tetris over my 39+ years."
On Thursday morning, Walker arrived early, and with the help of other teachers, planted one basket on each desk to surprised the students. He said many of them wouldn't have received one this year, and was overwhelmed with the kindness from people on Facebook.
"I think it will encourage them, hopefully, to really do their best and try harder," Walker told FOX 13, "because they know people they've never met before are fighting for them and are encouraging them from all over the place. I mean this was coming from all over the country."
There are two additional baskets he bought, he said, for two special people on campus. But he wouldn't say who, since it's supposed to be a surprise.