Students at Norge Elementary School have pooled their change for research, services and education on blood cancer.
For eight years, the school has participated in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Pasta for Pennies program. In that time, the school community has raised more than $32,000 for the organization.
Presented by Olive Garden, participating students collect donations over a three-week period after learning about the diseases. The classroom that raises the most money earns a pasta lunch donated from the restaurant.
Lori Harms is a Norge teacher who has been organizing the program at the school for the last five years. She said the children look forward to it every year, and she likes that students from every grade can participate and be recognized.
“Even the youngest child can do it,” she said.
LLS provides classroom and individual collection boxes which students can take home to gather coins, bill or checks. New this year is an online form where out-of-town relatives can make a contribution, as well. Once a student has made a contribution, his or her name is put on a paper “penny” and displayed in the cafeteria.
After donations pour in, leaders from the student council association step up to organize and tally the bounty.
“The five leaders of the SCA are imperative. They come and count money every day during recess,” Harms said.
The fifth-graders are also helped by third- and fourth-grade students who assist with counting and rolling coins while teachers check their work.
This year’s winner was Rob Moff’s fifth-grade class, which pulled in more than $600. The entire school collected about $5,000 for the 2014 program.