By Carolyn Marnon – “Penny Wars was the best time I’ve ever had with a fundraiser,” said Hoover Elementary School parent liaison Jessica McMahen. “I had no idea it would lead us to collect over $1,000 in only two weeks or the amount of fun we had while running it! The name of the game really is sabotage.”
The Wayne Police Department was the beneficiary of the fundraising competition held between Hoover and Roosevelt Mc-Grath elementary schools. Charles D. Hallman, Roosevelt-McGrath Principal, presented what he called “a Happy Gilmore-sized check” for $2,460 to Police Chief Ryan Strong at the May 7 city council meeting.
For the past two years, Hoover and Roosevelt Mc-Grath have both been chosen for the police department’s Shop with a Cop program. The schools wanted to give back to the cops. After the check presentation, Chief Strong publicly recognized Sergeants Hughes and Perez for keeping the program rolling.
According to Roosevelt Mc-Grath parent liaison Jillian Boston, “Penny Wars has been around for a very long time. I started doing it at Roosevelt-McGrath about 5 years ago. The first year we raised money for Angels of Hope. I am not sure who originally came up with the idea; however, I saw it on Pinterest. We collected donations over 10 school days. All forms of money were acceptable. The pennies counted as positive points for the class and anything else was negative. So if a student brought in 25 pennies and someone else put a quarter in their bucket then they lost 25 pennies. So silver and paper denominations were considered ‘sabotage.’ At the end of each day I would write the class totals up so they could figure out who to sabotage the next day.”
“Roosevelt-McGrath won between the schools,” Jillian said. “We brought in $1,382 and Hoover brought in $1,078. The winning school gets to decide on something silly for the losing principal/parent liaison to do. As for the classes, the class that brought in the most pennies won a pizza party, which was Mrs. Hoover’s 2nd grade. The class with the largest negative amount won a popsicle party and that was Mrs. Hess with -220.84. I am not sure if Hoover is doing anything like that though.”
Hoover parent liaison Jess McMahen relates in an email “Jillian Boston and I had tossed around the idea of having a fundraiser competition between our two schools at previous parent coordinator meetings, as we are so close in distance and want to involve our students in helping our community. When Jill suggested a Penny War and explained how easy and fun it is, I was sold on the idea. We offered a pizza party for the class with the highest points at the end, but one student’s grandmother stepped in and offered to help throw a school wide pizza party with the Belleville Police Department, where her son is an officer, to show their support for the amazing work our students put in for this fundraiser! It was a fabulous surprise. The class that won was Mrs. Carroll’s class, who was the front runner for 5 days before getting pushed down to second to last and came back for an astonishing win at the last minute. It was anybody’s game and they played it so well!”
“Shop with a Cop is a fantastic program that gives to families in our area that need help with food and holiday gifts,” she continues. “It is a program that is run on donations, and in some past years has not had enough put into it to host at all. This year, we wanted to give back and help strengthen the bond between our schools and the community that already does so much for us. It’s also a great way to teach our students that we can care for others in small ways and they still add up to big things.”