Loose change adds up for Bush students
The students at Bush Elementary School in The Woodlands are busy being bucket fillers, raising more than $1,600 so far for relief efforts in Haiti.
Mary Ellen Bryant's fourth-grade class is spearheading the loose change campaign.
The students had just finished studying earthquakes when Haiti was hit Jan. 12.
"We got the fault line map out and saw where the fault line in Haiti is," Bryant said. "So many children were affected, and the kids were seeing that on the news."
Renee Jones, 10, said the images she saw on television made her sad.
"There were pictures of dead bodies on the ground and people stepping over them," Renee said. "It showed them rescuing a little girl who had been in the rubble for three days and she was still alive. They were giving her food and water."
Nicolas Alferez, 10, saw similar photos in the newspapers.
"I saw newspapers that said 'why is Haiti important?' and it showed pictures of people on the ground with blankets over their heads," Nicolas said. "They were on the ground with only one blanket, and sleeping on the roads. It made me feel really sad."
Bryant said she initiated a current events conversation with her students about the earthquake, pulling out a fault line map so they could mark the fault line running through Haiti.
"They all sat there in silence as the ramifications of what happened became clear to them," Bryant said. "They were kind of quiet, just taking it all in. And then all of a sudden it was 'is there anything we can do?'"
Bryant recalled having some success with a loose change drive after the events of 9-11, and wondered if her students might try something similar.
They loved the idea and got busy bringing the entire school on board.
"We made posters saying that if you just find even one penny, that can change a whole life," Renee said. "We put the posters up all around the school to encourage the other children to bring in loose change they just might find laying around."
Nicolas said they also posted pictures from the Internet.
"Picture of kids, and how Port Au Prince was before the earthquake and how it was after," Nicolas said. "Rubble completely."
They secretly hoped to raise $500, but when they got that much within two days, the sky became the limit. So far, it's $1,600 and counting.
In addition to loose change, students are bringing in $1 bills, fivers and even ten-spots.
"We got like $91 in bills," Nicolas said.
Renee looked around her house and found a couple of coins, and then raided the family bucket.
"Our whole family collects loose change and puts it in a bucket," Renee said. "I took out like $5 and gave it."
As the money came in, it took the kids a few hours to roll it up, but they're ready to do it again at the end of the week.
They will donate the money to the Red Cross.
"It's better to send money and they can buy what they need," Renee said.
"Like they might have water," Nicolas said, "but maybe not food."
The final day of the fundraiser is Friday Feb. 5.
"I just think of all the money we've earned and I just get really happy," Renee said. "And it's all going to somebody who really needs it."
Kids helping kids fast facts:
- Students at Barbara Bush Elementary School in Alden Bridge have raised more than $1,600
- Mary Ellen Bryant's fourth-grade class is leading the loose change campaign
- The fundraiser ends Feb. 5
- Funds will be donated to the Red Cross for relief efforts in Haiti
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