Be the ‘change’

Siuslaw Elementary raises nearly $3,000 for Florence Food Share with Penny Drive

Dec. 16, 2017 — Students and staff at Siuslaw Elementary School have decided to help families in the area that avail themselves of services offered at Florence Food Share, not only by collecting food, but also by collecting pennies.

Principal Mike Harklerode, explained the shift in thinking.

“It’s been a long tradition for the elementary school kids to participate in a canned food drive for Florence Food Share each year. This year, we heard from the food share that, while food items are always appreciated, their ability to stretch a dollar takes cash donations further to meet the needs of our community,” he said. “We’ve always had an impressive turn-out of food and it presented a nice visual for the kids to see. We were afraid that changing to a coin drive fundraiser would not have as much positive energy.”

Harklerode’s concerns were laid to rest when the new format for collection began.

“Staff member Ella Glowacki did some looking around and found an interesting model for us to copy. Pennies and bills were each worth points. All silver change was worth negative points,” Harklerode said. “In our grade vs. grade competition, kids could add pennies and bills to their own bucket. All other coins were a face value deduction of points. Those would go into competing grade levels’ buckets.”

Glowacki said she was very pleased with the results achieved by the change and thought the students enjoyed the different approach to fundraising.

“We held a school-wide competition where grades competed against each other for a movie and popcorn party. Our competition ran for nearly three weeks,” Glowacki said. “Our students have huge hearts and not only brought pockets full of pennies, but also coins and dollars they received from the tooth fairy and birthday gifts.”

Totals raised in both pennies and food were impressive from Glowacki’s perspective, signaling a new element of effort for Florence Food Share.

Glowacki said, “All in all, Siuslaw Elementary School raised $2,963.03, allowing food share to access and distribute 103,705 pounds of food. Amazing! Our students brought in 59,278 pennies, plus countless silver dollars, coins and dollar bills.”

 In an assembly on Friday, Harklerode announced that the third grade won first place, and that the grade’s totals balanced out to $45.62. The bonus winner was the fifth grade, with the highest dollar value at $710.37.

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