Elementary school students here are helping to keep their neighbors warm this winter season in record-breaking fashion.
Fourth- and fifth-graders at Bethlehem Elementary School, in just one week, raised $2,411 for the local Caring for Bethlehem Fuel Bank, a fund that provides assistance to those in need with oil, propane, electricity and emergency furnace repairs.
The BES fundraiser was headed by the school’s 30-member student council, which initially set a goal of $900.
“We said we would have pajama day here at school if we reached $900. We never imagined we would raise what we did, but these kids came through,” said fourth-grade teacher Tricia Dannenhoffer, who serves as student council co-advisor along with fifth-grade teacher, Heather Casey.
Dannenhoffer said a big part of student council is teaching kids that, even though they are young, they can still have a positive impact on people’s lives.
And, Dannehoffer said, the students gave it all they had. She said the fuel drive created a buzz around school with classrooms battling it out to see who would raise the most money and win an ice-cream party.
In the school’s lobby, a sign was put up with a picture of a thermometer showing the daily totals as they went higher and higher. Posters around the school helped promote the cause.
“We got the check over to (Rick Wood of Caring for Bethlehem) right away so he could distribute it to whoever was in need, especially as it’s been such a cold winter,” Dannenhoffer said.
The student council, of which there are no elected offices, engages in civic-minded projects throughout the year. It recently laid wreaths in honor of veterans at a local cemetery as part of the Wreaths Across America event and typically raises funds for area animal shelters, the homeless and local food drives.
The student council even has shirts made up each year with a theme printed along the front. This year’s theme, “we go the extra mile to make you smile.”