When LGBT artist Rolando Chang Barrero was approached by Alexandria Ayala, Palm Beach County School Board Member of District 2, to create a graphic that emphasized the importance of health and safety of children as the school year approached, he had no idea it would spiral into a huge fundraiser for local schools.

“I posted the prototype of the graphic, Mochilas y Mascarillas | Backpacks and Face Masks, to Facebook in order to test the community’s response of the graphic before presenting it to Ms. Ayala and the graphic was received much better than expected, in fact people responded by contacting me with inquiries about where to give financial donations, backpacks and school supplies,” Barrero said.

He immediately took action and sent donors to his non-profit organization’s website for financial donations and told others to drop off school supplies at his art gallery, The Box Gallery.

The donations received at the Art Synergy website were then redirected to local schools in Palm Beach County.

Though Barrero’s involvement with the Palm Beach County school system was intended to end after a safety graphic was created, his accidental fundraiser is still booming.

According to a press release, “the campaign to raise awareness and promote health was soon embraced by community leaders, elected officials, friends, local businesses, and other non-profits who help gather the backpacks, sort the supplies, and facilitate the delivery to Hope Elementary School where they will be distributed to the students.”

The fundraiser began as an effort to prioritize the health and safety of children as the Delta variant makes its way through Florida. During the first week of school, more than 1,000 Palm Beach County students were sent home due to COVID-19 concerns according to WPTV.

Five different types of masks are listed on the Art Synergy Amazon fundraiser list for Palm Beach County schools to receive along with mini hand sanitizers.

The list includes links to everything that schools need for the 2021-2022 school year, including backpacks, notebooks, highlighters, and face masks. Donors can simply add the items to their carts and have them shipped to The Box Gallery.

School supplies can also be dropped off at The Box Gallery from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday and Saturday.