Because it was among the schools to raise the most funds last year, the Jennie E. Hewitt school in Rockville Centre was recently awarded $1,000 from Island Harvest.
The students in the school participated in Island Harvest’s annual Coin Harvest last year, raising $1,525.43. The coin drive has been going on for years, tasking schools to collect as much as possible for Island Harvests, which feeds the hungry on Long Island.
Three years ago, Island Harvest partnered with Verizon to offer prizes for the top-performing schools: the three schools that raise the most money each win $1,000.
“Every year, I run the fifth grade coin drive for Island Harvest,” said Gregg Linker, a fifth grade teacher at Hewitt. “My kids become ambassadors for the rest of the school.”
Linker said that the money Hewitt raised purchased 3,814 pounds of food, which helped provide 3,178 meals for people in the area.
According to Elissa Weick, the manager of special events for Island Harvest, the Coin Harvest runs throughout the school year. Each school can participate for a two-week period any time during the year. And whichever schools raise the most wins a prize.
Weick said that Island Harvest usually raises about $85,000 a year through the Coin Harvest. This year, she said Island Harvest will be awarding prizes to the top five schools instead of the top three. “And we may increase the prize money,” she added. “We’re not sure yet.”
Linker said that Hewitt decided to donate $250 back to Island Harvest. The remaining prize money is being used to purchase apps for the 50 iPads in the Hewitt library that are utilized in the school’s STELLAR program. The money will buy copies of iMovie and Keynote, which will be able to be utilized by all students in the school.
“[Island Harvest] supports the local community, so the students know who they are helping,” she said. “By assisting people who are local, the students have a greater connection with the organization and therefore care more.”