DANBURY, Conn. – The gym at Park Avenue Elementary School was full of cheers, applause and music Thursday as students and teachers celebrated the more than $2,000 they raised for those affected by Hurricane Sandy and the Newtown school shooting tragedy.
“Our hands may be small, but we made a big difference,” a student said while announcing the total amount of money raised.
Students raised $1,036.67 to benefit people affected by Hurricane Sandy and $1,050.50 for the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School. The room was decorated with dozens of snowflakes, snowmen and other winter items that will be donated to the Monroe building where Sandy Hook students and teachers will resume classes.
The funds for those affected by the hurricane will go to a charity called Kids In Distressed Situations, known as KIDS, which donates $10 worth of goods for every $1 raised by Park Avenue students, said Gwen Gallagher, a second grade teacher who organized the fundraising efforts.
A line of students stood at the front of the gym holding giant checks for each cause, each taking a turn reading part of the story of how the school raised money for people affected by Hurricane Sandy. Before and after pictures of the damage in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey played on a screen behind them. As part of the fundraising efforts, students who donated money were allowed to dress up in costumes on certain days.
Many of the fundraising events took place in early November, but the students decided to do more and keep the efforts running through December.
“We raised $902, but we knew we could do more, so we collected more,” said one student, describing the fundraising efforts.
The school also raffled several gift baskets containing art supplies, movie tickets, super hero toys and Barbie dolls to raise money for Sandy Hook Elementary School. Gallagher said the students weren’t told many details about what happened in Newtown but were still eager to help after teachers told them Sandy Hook Elementary School needed them.
“It’s fun to win something,” Principal David Krafick said to the crowd of children. “But you’ve all won something. You truly can go home and say, ‘I did it. I was a good person, I helped someone today.’”