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MVES makes $5,000 donation to the Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy victims

MVES students from Kay Halstrom's room posed for a picture with the $5,000 "check" presented to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief. Students read books and took pledges to earn the money.

Even though a recent fundraiser was based on reading, Meadowview Elementary School students learned a new lesson about giving.

On Friday, MVES principal Lisa Edwards presented a $5,000 check to Kristin Peters of the American Red Cross. The money was raised by students in November to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The idea for an impromptu reading program to raise money for hurricane victims came from third grade teacher Kay Halstrom. It stems from a similar program that was done in 2001, at Akin Road Elementary School.

Back then, Halstrom was a teacher at ARES. When the terrorist attacks on the US happened, kids wanted to help, but they didn't know how, Halstrom said. Teachers came up with a reading fundraiser called Reading for Relief, where students took pledges for the time they spent reading.

Hearing the warnings and, for some kids, having family out on the East Coast, many students had questions about hurricanes, Halstrom said. When Hurricane Sandy hit, there were even more. And the kids decided they wanted to do something to help.

Halstrom and other MVES teachers decided to do a reading fundraiser, similar to the one done over a decade ago. Over the course of a week, students took collections for their reading efforts, and when it was all said and done, they'd raised just over $5,000 for the American Red Cross.

"This was just from the heart," Halstrom said. "There are no prizes or incentives. We wanted to give kids the feel of that, that it feels good to do something for other people."

Peters is the fundraising and events director for the Northern Minnesota Region of the American Red Cross. She came to MVES to share a few photos - nothing too graphic - and answer some student questions. The money raised by the students will go into a Hurricane Sandy fund for long-term care for some of the families who lost their homes, Peters said.

Donations like the one Meadowview Elementary made are crucial for post-disaster aid, she said.

"It's nice to see philanthropy at such a young age," Peters said. "Kids always want to help."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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