When you work together, you can accomplish big dreams.
This was the lesson that the students at Franklin Elementary School in Lehighton learned this week, after combining their spare change to raise funds for the American Red Cross' relief efforts in Haiti.
Each child was sent home with a small milk carton and asked to place his spare change in the carton for two weeks. Staff members didn't expect the change to add up to a large amount, but knew that the Red Cross could use every penny.
While each student contributed just a few coins to their carton, those pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters quickly added up. Together, the students at Franklin Elementary raised $1,064.97.
"I am so impressed," said school Principal Gretchen Laviolette during a recent assembly at Franklin Elementary. When she asked the students why they were raising money, nearly every hand in the room went up. They knew exactly what their coins would be used for, and why their pocket change was so desperately needed.
"There are a lot of people in Haiti who need help, not just now but probably for years to come," added Laviolette.
American Red Cross of the Lehigh Valley representative Sharon Kendig was at the school to accept a check from the students. The March Students of the Month, Nicholas Ahner, Abigail Buffington, Shyhiem Ervine, Emma Liguori, and Ryan Nametko, presented a "big" check to her as the school looked on.
"These donations are very important," said Kendig. "These donations will provide relief supplies, food, medical services, shelter, and long-term continuing support. We thank Franklin Elementary for their generosity and spirit."
The fundraiser was organized by teachers Nan Cressley and Kris Snyder.
"We felt that this could be a way for the kids to help out. They should know that they can help people," said Snyder.
The school has done fundraisers for other disaster areas and charity groups in the past, including the Red Cross's New Orleans relief efforts and Dream Come True.
"We had a lot of positive feedback. Even the parents were glad that we were doing this," he added.