Give a bunch of kids brown paper bags and empty buckets, and there’s no telling what they might do with them. In this case, they filled them with $2005 worth of loose change! In early November, Mrs. Maryjane Gallo, Grade 6 teacher at Holy Cross School and co-founder of the Tawawami Children’s Project, a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to assist underprivileged developing communities, sent each student home with a small brown paper bag. She asked the children to collect pennies from their piggy banks, cup holders, couch cushions and car seats. At the end of the month, the children brought their bags back to school and poured the coins into their individual homerooms’ big blue buckets. Several Grade 7 students, as part of their service commitment for the sacrament of Confirmation, generously volunteered their time sorting the coins and lugging them to the bank. The totals revealed Homerooms 6A and 6B did the most penny-pinching, and they were rewarded with a delicious ice cream cake made by their Spanish teacher and Baking Club instructor Mrs. Jacqueline Saives. As a whole, the school raised $2005.
The name of the Tawawami Children’s Project comes from the Swahili words Tazama wafungaji na watoto mijini meaning, “urban and pastoral community.” The Projects motto stems from a Maasai phrase Eyamuai Amu Edimai meaning “Decide because it is possible.” It began when Mrs. Gallo spent several months teaching in Tanzania with the Catholic Medical Mission Board, which inspired her to give this outside project the resources needed to provide a better education for the children there. So the Project’s first endeavor was to build a grammar school in the Ilemela District of Mwanza, Tanzania. Indeed, that goal was possible, because it has already been reached! Now, subsequent funds go to outfitting the school with water, electricity, glass windows and all the necessary tools for learning. The project’s long-term goal is to build a boarding school to attend to the educational and housing needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Tanzania. For more information, please visit www.tawawamiproject.org.
Because the Penny Harvest took place just after Hurricane Matthew, Holy Cross School wanted to share some of the funds raised with families affected by the storm. With a little searching, Mrs. Gallo found St. Frances de Sales, a Catholic church in Lumberton, NC that had several displaced parish families who were grateful for the assistance. Since Hurricane Sandy affected many families at Holy Cross in 2014, this, along with Mrs. Gallo’s personal stories, photos and videos from Africa, was great motivation for the children to empty their pockets.
Holy Cross School, a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence founded in 1941, is dedicated to educating the whole child in faith, knowledge and character in a God-centered, family atmosphere. For more information, please visit www.holycrossschoolrumson.org or call 732-842-0348, ext 1128, to schedule a visit.