PENDLETON — Every day for a week, Pendleton Elementary School-Primary students and their families reached into their pockets and found ways to raise money to help people they have never met.
Hurricane Irma victims, at Collier County Schools in Florida, recently received a check for more than $4,000 from the Pendleton school to use for supplies as they try to recover from the recent storm.
Students in Carla Klipsch’s third-grade class were instrumental in collecting the funds and getting the school-wide fundraiser going.
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Klipsch’s son attends Pendleton Primary School-Intermediate, where there were “penny wars” collecting funds to help Hurricane Harvey victims.
After seeing how pumped her son was to help others, Klipsch thought her students in the primary building would be just as excited to do something similar.
“We just knew we wanted all the money we raised to go to a school corporation to benefit the students,” Klipsch said. “We felt like every little bit we could raise would help.”
Principal Eric Schill helped students make contact with the school district in Florida and selected the area where the aid would go. He said he was thrilled with the effort students and their families put forth helping others.
“I believe the help our community gave to reach out, and the empathy our kids have shown, shares a lot about the community we live in,” Schill said.
The students collected money for one week in late September, dropping coins and dollar bills into buckets in the classrooms and they came up with $4,132 for the cause — well past the $2,000 goal.
“Out kids really knocked it out,” Klipsch said. “They really rocked it.”
Klipsch helped students keep track of the drive with thermometers showing the money collected rising each day on their classroom blackboard.
They happened to start the collection process on grandparents night, and hundreds of family members ended up pitching in for the cause.
“We are very fortunate to have so many great kids and families, willing to help others they have never met, for the greater good,” Schill said.
Students emptied piggy banks, did odd jobs, knocked on doors and more to help collect funds, Klipsch said.
Some students ran a lemonade stand with proceeds going to the cause. It was great to see all the different ways students come up with ideas to help raise money for the fundraisers, the educators said.
Students could see every penny counts and that they can make a difference, Klipsch said.
“That was awesome to see those looks on their faces and have them get that understanding,” Klipsch said.
She also talked with her students to help them understand what it must have been like for hurricane victims to lose family members, homes and schools.
The primary school has a motto hanging in the cafeteria stating how important it is for children to learn to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.
School staff said they thought the fundraiser helped students live that motto.