E.L. Ross Elementary students learned how coins can add up to big money as they raised $1,684 in change for The Caring Place.
The school’s fifth-grade Beta Club students organized a schoolwide “Penny power” fundraiser competition for which each penny was worth a point, but anything higher subtracted points.
“So it was strategic in the fact that if Ms. Storey’s class was ahead, then other kids might put silver in her collection jar because she would lose points because of that,“ Eason said. “So, it was based on points, not necessarily who raised the most money.”
The fundraiser lasted one week.
“I thought if we raised $200 that would be fantastic,” club co-sponsor Lisa Eason said.
Bank of Cleveland counted the change for the students.
“I was shocked really, really shocked,” said Sheeko Ndegwa, the club’s president, describing her reaction to hearing that the children had raised almost $1,700.
She said she was glad the school could help the organization, because her church had donated to the cause in the past.
Many of the other students had also heard of The Caring Place before the fundraiser.
“It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done as a teacher, to work with this group of students and see their interest in helping others,” Eason said.
Club co-sponsor Dana Storey said the “Penny Power” format was chosen because organizers wanted something every student could participate in.
“We were trying to find a local charity that we could help out with this year … we voted on which one we wanted to take up as an organization, and they chose the Caring Place,” Storey said.
Caring Place director Reba said she was excited about the donation and that it would be used to continue the food and clothing services the nonprofit offers to the community.
Terry led the students on a tour of the organization, explaining the registration, what is kept in each room and how each food bag is packed.
Terry said The Caring place typically serves an average of approximately 75 families each day it is open. She added the organization gave out 14,000 bags of food last year to 3,000 different families. Families that meet the federal poverty guidelines can come twice a month. Individuals can come once a month.
The Caring Place started as a joint effort of four of the larger Church of God churches in Cleveland to combine their food and clothing ministries, Terry said. Today, the nonprofit receives support from numerous area churches with a variety of denominational ties.
“This is the first year that we have had Beta Club at Ross. … You have to have good grades and good behavior to qualify,” Eason said.
This was the Beta Club’s second project benefitting The Caring Place. The first was a clothing drive.