Area schools use penny drive to help buy supplies

Monday, May 10, 2004

Local students are learning about giving back to the community one penny at a time through an on-going fundraiser to help low-income children.

This month, five area elementary schools are participating in a penny drive to raise funds for East Missouri Action Agency's annual back-to-school fair, which provides school supplies and services to low-income families.

Students at Clippard Elementary collected 51 pounds, or about $92, in pennies during their fund raiser last week.

"It's something that our kids are so great at, doing things for other kids," said Clippard principal Sydney Herbst. "We focus on helping in the community throughout the year. It seems like every month or two we collect something to show we're a part of the community and can help."

Local businesses and organizations also contribute funds for the back-to-school fair, said Evelyn Nolen, a community service representative with East Missouri Action Agency. The money goes toward the purchase of basic school supplies and items such as toothpaste, soap and deodorant.

This year's back-to-school fair will be held Aug. 5 and will include school supplies plus services like hearing and head-lice checks, haircuts and door prizes.

Franklin Elementary School's penny fundraiser began Monday. Principal Rhonda Dunham said the class that raises the most money will receive a pizza party.

"It's a very good program. When you look at prices for some school stuff, it's astronomical," Dunham said. "And that gets to be tough, especially if you have five or six kids."

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