Students at Steele School raised more than $500 last month during a school-wide penny war to help the FISH Food Pantry in assisting needy families throughout Knox County.
The two-week charity drive began after Thanksgiving and ran through mid-December. Students in each of the school’s six houses donated coins in various denominations signifying a certain number of points. At the end of the war, the house with the most points was named winner. This year’s winning house was Altruismo
A total of $548.59 was raised to support the FISH Food Pantry. A check presentation ceremony took place December 18 at Steele where six students from the winning house presented FISH Food Pantry President Diane Copeland with the donation which will help FISH purchase more than 2,000 pounds of food for area families during the holiday season.
This is the second penny war Steele Students have participated in during the 2015 calendar year. The first penny war was held last spring to raise money for the American Red Cross in its efforts to provide relief and financial support for those affected by the earthquake in Haiti - more than $800 was raised for that effort.
Many of the participating expressed excitement about taking part in the penny war:
“I liked that the penny war was for a good cause because now FISH can buy more food for struggling families. It made me feel good that the rest of the school and I were collecting money for a good cause.” -Britney, 5th Grade.
“We donated money to help people. It was fun seeing if your house was in the lead or not.”-Glenn, 5th Grade.
“The penny war made me feel happy, being able to help the FISH Food Pantry with our money. Plus, it teaches kids to donate money for good.” -Bailey, 5th Grade.
“I thought the penny war was very thoughtful, to raise money for other people’s needs. Lots of students brought in a whole lot of pennies!”-Simone, 5th Grade.
But the good vibes surrounding the penny war weren’t just reserved for the students. Fifth grade teacher Katie Ostdick believes penny wars like these provide a fun and accessible way for students to engage with their communities in a productive and educational manner.
“Bringing in pennies may seem like a small thing,” Ostdick said. “But this is a good way to show students how small things can make a big difference.”
Ostdick also feels initiatives like these penny wars give students the skills to work together to accomplish goals, and highlight the importance of helping those less fortunate throughout the Galesburg community.