Trina Krafka saw a need in Springfield and wanted to fill it.
For the past five years, Krafka and her family have organized Trina’s Dream Closet, an event which provides clothing and other items to first graders at Lincoln Elementary School.
They’ve served more than 400 students since it started in December five years ago.
“We hope it does something to help someone in the community,” Krafka said. “There’s a selfishness there, too, because it makes us feel good.”
For her efforts, Krafka was nominated and selected as an Unsung Hero in the community.
“There are a lot of people who are a lot nicer than I am,” said Krafka, a Springboro resident.
Krafka’s daughter, Andrea Oyer, was a first-grade teacher at Lincoln for about four years, Principal Mike Wilson said. Krafka would often help her daughter with classroom parties and read to children, many of whom didn’t have coats or wouldn’t wear long sleeves in the winter, Krafka said.
“We saw a need and heard stories,” she said.
Krafka began shopping with her mother, Doris Krafka, to provide clothes and other items to children at the school.
After Oyer left the district, Trina Krafka called Wilson to ask if the Dream Closet could continue. On Dec. 15, Krafka and her family provided about 85 first-graders with about four articles of clothing each.
“It’s a demonstration of how kind and giving a family that is,” Wilson said.
The event has grown from just Trina Krafka and her mother to several other family members attending, Wilson said.
“Overall, they really seem to get the joy and pleasure out of being able to help our kids at this time of the year,” Wilson said. “The kids love it to death.”
Trina Krafka was nominated by her sister, Krista Kaiser.
“It touched her heart so much that year-after-year she goes back to help the children at that school,” Kaiser said. “She gets such joy out of it, too.”
The Krafkas only ask the children to pay it forward to parents, siblings or teachers in return, Kaiser said.
She also serves as a home health-care nurse, Kaiser said, and often goes above and beyond her duties to help patients.
“There are times she’ll do it on her own time and spend her own money to take these patients out, just to get them out of their places,” Kaiser said.
The event is tweaked each year to include different items for children, such as Christmas dresses for girls and pajamas for boys, Trina Krafka said.
“She gets more out of it than the kids do,” Kaiser said.
The clothes come in on hangers and are hung off the edge of tables, Wilson said, allowing the children to pick what they like best.
“They’re going up and down the aisles shopping, trying on different things,” he said. “The kids really love it. For us, it’s a great way to move into the week before Christmas break.”
Every week, Trina Krafka and her mother go shopping looking for deals on clothes and other items, like pajamas or coats.
They’ve already starting shopping for next year, she said.
“It’s been fun, it’s been rewarding,” Trina Krafka said. “It’s a project that’s kept my mom and I together.”
About this story
This is a special holiday feature of the Springfield News-Sun Unsung Heroes series. The News-Sun asked readers to nominate people who go above and beyond to help others but rarely receive recognition for their work.