Pasta for Pennies is a fundraising event sponsored by the partners, Olive Garden Restaurant and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s School & Youth Program. Established in 2004, over two million students from approximately 2,700 schools nationwide have participated.
During a three-week period, usually in February, students bring spare change to their school. On Thursday, March 23, East Salem Elementary held a leukemia and lymphoma assembly inside the school’s cafeteria to celebrate reaching the school wide goal of raising $4,000.00.
With guidance counselor Mary Gregory and teacher Kelly Rowland leading the way, students and teachers of all grade levels gathered together to celebrate how much money they collectively raised. “Over $5,000 dollars,” Assistant Principal Wes Thomas said. “$ 5,030 to be exact.” To illustrate the amount of money raised, a student from each grade level held up a sign with a number on it.
The school fundraiser had been in the works for a few weeks. “It was about a month-long process as we had different events,” Wes said. “We let our kids do things like vote on what songs would play over the morning announcements.”
As a result of the money that was raised, students got to pour ice cream and syrup on the Principal Diane Rose and the Assistant Principal. Wes described that moment as “intense” but certainly worth taking a double shower for.
It’s a proven fact when a child is surrounded by supportive people it usually builds their confidence. Conner Barr, a fifth-grade student, was accompanied by East Salem teacher Kelly Rowland} as she spoke on the importance of supporting people who have medical issues.
The classroom that raised the most money got a free lunch provided by Olive Garden. “All of the money that we raised goes directly to Pasta for Pennies Organization,” Wes said. “This has become a yearly thing that we do.”