Middle school students raise $3,600 for food bank

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During a gathering at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center, Whitefish Middle School Principal Josh Branstetter, right, along with the school’s student council, presented SueAnn Grogan-King of North Valley Food Bank last week with a $3,661.23 donation in the form of bags of pennies. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

Students at Whitefish Middle School showed off their giving spirit last week with a roughly $3,600 donation to the North Valley Food Bank.

Through a penny war, fifth through eighth grade classes competed with one another to see who could bring in the most pennies to donate to North Valley Food Bank ahead of Thanksgiving. Classes were asked to collect pennies in a jug to raise points for the contest, and students could sneak silver coins into other classes’ jugs to subtract points from their total.

The fifth grade raised $1,447, the sixth grade $827, the seventh grade $751 and the eighth grade $834 through the penny war.

This year’s $3,661.23 donation is about $1,500 more than last year’s total, Principal Josh Branstetter said.

Branstetter held a short program on the importance of gratitude and empathy before presenting a cart of pennies to SueAnn Grogan-King, executive director of the food bank, at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center.

“Do we only use gratitude and empathy on Thanksgiving? No, we can use it every day of our life,” Branstetter explained to the students. “We appreciate everything you do for the middle school, everything you do for the community.”

Grogan-King thanked the middle school for their generosity and said the donations will be put to good use as soon as possible.

“That was amazing, thank you,” she said. “Today at the food bank we hand out turkeys and things to the families.”

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