Students at Cochran Elementary School learned the meaning of "the season of giving," when they were able to give presents to those less fortunate.
The school competed to see which class could raise the most money in order to buy foster children Christmas gifts. Students collected a combined $1,252.14 in just a little more than a month.
"We were flabbergasted," said Jenna Morrone, of CONCERN professional services for children, youth and families.
JOSEPH STENDER/ Sun-Gazette
Jenna Morrone, of CONCERN, left, presents Barbara Davis, right, and her second-grade class with a plaque for Cochran Elementary School’s efforts during the holiday season. Cochran collected change in each class for a month to buy gifts for foster children.
CONCERN, a nonprofit child welfare agency, has provided foster care, life skills training and delinquency services to more than 14,000 children and teens since 1978, according to its website.
Morrone came up with the idea for her child's class to collect change for foster children.
"It's an expensive thing to buy them gifts," Morrone said.
So Morrone brought the idea to Barbara Davis, second-grade teacher, to see if it was something the school would be interested in. Soon, each class had a can in order to donate money.
"We put cans in every room and homeroom and students bring in change," Davis said.
David Michaels, principal, set a goal of raising $1,000 combined for the school. And to help with the goal, a pizza party was planned for the winning class.
Morrone went into some of the classes to speak with them about the importance of collecting the money.
"The kids are excited everyday to see what they brought in," Nicole Dawson, parent volunteer, said.
Morrone said the project teaches the students to think of others. Dawson added it will help them with "realizing not everyone gets Christmas presents automatically."
The cans were collected and counted each week at least twice.
"Within three days we had $400," Davis said.
The organizers thought the money flow would eventually dwindle off after such a fast start, but they said it didn't.
Parents have told Davis that students went through couch cushions and cars to find spare change. They also asked family and neighbors for any contributions they could donate.
"We thought they'd raise like $300, but it just kept rolling in and rolling in," Morrone said.
The school raised just about half of the money needed to buy gifts for the foster children, as Morrone said about $2,500 is needed to do so.
Davis had the top collecting class with $273.68. The community helped congratulate the school for their efforts as Kellogg's donated gummies for everyone. Roy's Bakery, Pudgie's Pizza, Long Island Pizza, McDonald's, Faxon Bowling and Dunkin Donuts also donated products to the school.
Morrone said they took a few of the students with to help shop for the gifts.
"So they'll see it from beginning to end," Morrone said.