Collegeville’s “Change for Change” drive raises funds for victims of Japan disasters

By Tracy Coppock

During a Collegeville Elementary School fundraiser to benefit the people of Japan after the recent natural disasters, students pulled their pocket change together raising over $2,000 in four days to give to the Red Cross.

The fundraiser was called the “Change for Change” drive. Students were to bring in coins to help other children in Japan. Michelle Kiernan, counselor for Collegeville, said, kids were bringing in sacks full of change for donations.

On the first day, Monday, March 28, $100 was collected. The Red Cross put a thermometer-type gauge in front of the school to show how much money was being donated. On the second day, they received $900 and it grew from there. On the fourth and final day the total reached $2,257.98.

Motivation was the key for the children.[more] According to Keri Miller, a volunteer parent who pioneered the drive, “Everybody loves competition.”

So with the help of Papa John’s Pizza, the class, which raised the most would receive a pizza party in class.

The winner of the party was Dana Creighton fourth grade class with a total of $255.69.

One little boy brought in his little piggy bank to help. Another student earned money by picking up gumballs from her yard; her parents told her that they would give five cents for ever gumball she picked up. The total amount was 510 gumballs.

“It’s nice to see young children involved and giving so freely,” Miller said.

Miller visited Japan for a while and had some contacts and that is what motivated her to do something to try and help.

“Keri was the driving force of this drive,” Kiernan said.

Miller and a team of volunteers counted the change everyday of the drive.

A Red Cross representative, Bridgette Williams, came to the school and talked with the students about how people lost their possessions, houses, and their way of living. Williams concentrated on the loss of possessions rather than the overwhelming number of deaths. The students seemed to be concerned for other children that lost their toys.

On the last day, Miller received a note of appreciation from a parent who had lived in Japan. The note read that it was “nice to live in a community that has such kindness.”

“Change all adds up to big change.” Miller said.

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