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Keystone students' loose change adds up to $2,180 for folks in need


ELYRIA - You don`t have to ask the children at Keystone Elementary School about the meaning of Christmas.

For three weeks, they have been avidly collecting change and have $2,180 to help folks in need of food, toys and holiday cheer as part of LaGrange Lions Club`s Loose Change Drive.

Madyson Hetsler, 5, Toby Pfeifer and Sammi Stefan, both 8

A running score of donations was entered on a chart outside Principal Ryan Coleman`s office and third-graders collected the most money.

"Every single day, there were hundreds of kids looking at this graph," Coleman said. "When you raise nearly $2,200, that`s a lot of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters."

Kay Hegadore of the Lions Club will thank the winning third-graders at their holiday assembly tonight.

Sammi Stefan, 8, said she`s glad her class won and she hopes the money will help.

"It feels good to help other people," Sammi said.

Another third-grader, Toby Pfeifer, said he wants the Lions Club to buy "food, clothes and drink" to give to the needy.

Bags of money were placed in a big bucket and by the end of the collection, "It was so heavy, they could hardly carry it," said Toby, 8.

Even the tiniest child was able to help. Madyson Hetsler, 5, a kindergarten student, said she wants the money to go toward "Christmas presents for families."

While the elementary children collected change, students at the middle school collected toys and personal items to put in the boxes and students at the high school collected food, Hegadore said.

"It`s wonderful," Hegadore said of the effort. "It teaches them there are other people in the world who need help."

She said Scout troops help organize the 150 boxes, which are delivered with the assistance of Linden Propane and Commerce Delivery Co.

Hegadore said there are a few boxes left to give in the Holiday Cheer Box program conducted with the assistance of Second Harvest Food Bank, Burger King and WOBL-AM.

For more information, call (440) 355-5466.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or

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