Clanton Elementary recognized for Pennies for Patients fundraisingBy Emily Beckett Published 6:01pm Thursday, May 2, 2013
Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters are not the only forms of change students at Clanton Elementary School have provided for leukemia and lymphoma patients in the past four years.
By participating in a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society called Pennies for Patients, students have helped make positive changes in the lives of cancer patients and their families by relieving some of the financial strain incurred from treatment and traveling expenses.
CES recently finished its fourth annual Pennies for Patients fundraising drive and collected $4,015.75, placing first in the state for raising the most money out of 271 schools participating in Pennies for Patients.
This marks the second time CES has come in first for raising the most money in Alabama for Pennies for Patients.
Amy Barker’s second grade class was recognized Thursday as the overall top fundraising class at CES with $336.97.
For pre-kindergarten, Heather Alford’s class was the top fundraising class with $300.19.
For kindergarten, Rene Mims’ class won with $170.17.
For first grade, Meredith Aldridge’s class won with $200.93.
The top fundraising class in each grade level will receive an Office Depot gift card for classroom supplies and a pizza party.
Also recognized were 11 classes that raised between $100–$200, two classes that raised between $200–$300 and two classes that raised more than $300.
Pre-kindergarten teacher Maria Porter spearheads CES’ Pennies for Patients fundraiser every year and does so with an understanding of how much every cent donated benefits patients and their families.
Porter’s 8-year-old daughter, Jensyn, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008, and Porter received gasoline money from Pennies for Patients for the mileage she accumulated while driving Jensyn to her treatments at Children’s in Birmingham.
“That’s why I have a personal connection to this,” Porter said. “If you’re in need, then this is where the money comes from. Every little bit helps.”
Jensyn, now in remission, is not the only student at CES with a reason to give back to this type of fundraiser.
First grader Yumalette Lewis has a younger brother who is undergoing treatment for a serious illness.
Lewis’ teacher, Needra Henderson, said her students used Pennies for Patients to honor Lewis’ brother by helping children who are sick.
“They really got into raising this money,” Henderson said. “I told them I would give them a pizza party if they raised over $100, and they did. That’s what we could do to help.”
To collect money for Pennies for Patients, Porter said each student takes home a box to fill with change and brings it back to school after about four weeks.
The teachers compile their students’ change and turn it over to Porter, who takes it to Kayla Carroll at Peoples Southern Bank to be rolled and counted.
Porter said CES is currently the only school in the county that participates in Pennies for Patients, but she hopes the fundraiser eventually spreads to other schools so that more people affected by leukemia or lymphoma receive help when they need it most.
“That’s just one of the ways to raise money—through the schools,” Porter said. “Every day she (Jensyn) wakes up, I’m just blessed.”