Successful charity fundraiser fueled by competition (and cream pies)Jul 15, 2021 10:57AM ● By Jet Burnham
Earning the opportunity to throw a pie in their teacher’s face was a popular reward during St. Andrew’s annual charity fundraiser. (Photo courtesy of Erin Carrabba.)
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
Third grader Sadie Owlsey mopped floors, babysat and cleaned her house to earn money for the Pennies for Patients fundraiser at her school, Saint Andrew Catholic School in Riverton. Because of her efforts and the generosity of her family and neighbors, Sadie raised $1,300.
Pennies for Patients is Saint Andrew Catholic School’s annual fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to help families with children who are affected by childhood illness. They usually raise about $2,000 each year. This year’s goal was $2,021.
“It seemed like an appropriate goal based on what we've collected in the past as well as in light of the pandemic and how it has impacted our families financially,” Principal Erin Carrabba said.
Students brought in change from home and asked friends and family members to make online donations. At the end of two weeks, the 150 students had raised over $5,000. Of that total, $2,100 was raised by two students: Sadie and a fourth grader, who raised $800.
“This was something that they thought that their family or friends would value giving money to, and they really came through,” Carrabba said. “I don't know if it was the student council and the energy they put in or because it was a pandemic, but the community just really came through,”
The 20 upper-grade students on the school’s student council planned the fundraiser and kept students excited about raising money through competitions, posters and regular announcements. They believe the success of the fundraiser was because of the competition between students and grade levels. Students were motivated to bring in money to add to their class totals and to sabotage other classes (something they could pay to do).
“We started getting really competitive, and that’s when we really started bringing more money in,” student council member Lucy Urena said.
“It was crazy because we doubled the amount that we’d set a goal for; it was really exciting,” said Emma Carrabba, another student on the council. She said the sting of sabotage and the disappointment of losing the lead was lessened because everyone understood it was all in good fun and all for a good cause.
“I really enjoyed helping the kids with cancer; I felt really good about that,” Sadie said. She also was motivated by the incentives, such as getting to throw a pie in her teacher’s face.
When the school total hit certain benchmarks, all students would earn treats such as free dress days, a pizza lunch or no homework. Students who met a minimum donation amount had their names put in a raffle for a chance to throw a cream pie in the face of their teacher. The class that earned the highest total got a lunch from Olive Garden provided by LLS.
The top prize, which Sadie earned, was the privilege to be principal for a day. She greeted students at the car drop-off in the morning, handed out cookies to them during lunch and made the morning announcements. Sadie said the best part of the day was playing with the kindergartners at recess and having the principal order her lunch from her favorite restaurant.