Eli Medof, 8, was moved by a fundraising telethon for Hurricane Sandy.
“Eli was standing behind me and he said, ‘Mommy, we should do something to help,”’ said Alli Medof, his mother.
She told him to talk to Tritt Principal Karen Frost, who charged Eli with coming up with a plan to raise funds and suggested he pitch it to the fourth- and fifth-grade student council to get their support.
“She saw an opportunity for him to be a leader,” Alli said.
Eli presented his children-only fundraising idea to the student council, who gave him the green light.
To help find a school to give their donations to, Alli Medof connected through Facebook with a teacher at East Rockaway, N.Y.,’s Rhame Avenue Elementary School, a 325-student in kindergarten through fifth-grade school that was damaged heavily by the storm and only started to reopen this week.
During the first few weeks of December, Tritt students did a multitude of things to raise money.
Some did extra chores around the house; sold hot chocolate, lemonade and jewelry door to door; gave up their allowances and savings; and asked for their church congregations help in supporting the cause.
By Dec. 14, the elementary students raised $5,704 on their own, got support from the Pope High student council and Key Club with a donation of another $800 and a parent who asked to be anonymous matched the $5,704, bringing their total to $12,208, all of which will be given to the school for administrators and teachers to decide how it will be used.
Eli raised $98 on his own by setting up a table outside a Trader Joe’s grocery store in east Cobb and making origami cranes that he would give to anyone willing to donate to the cause.
“I feel glad that there are people who still care and help,” he said. “That’s why I wanted to do this. It reminds me that there is still good stuff in the world.”
On Tuesday, Eli and members of the school’s student council packed up cards written by all 900-plus Tritt students and a banner that each child signed for the students at the New York school. They will also be creating a video postcard telling the Rhame Avenue students what all they did to raise the funds and how happy they are to be able to help them out.
They hope the package gets to the school before the Christmas holiday.
Madalyn Corcoran, the fifth-grade student council president, donated her allowance and vacuumed to raise money.
“It was really amazing to see everyone so kind and gentle and coming up with such great ideas,” the 10-year-old said. “I was very excited to start doing this.”
Frost said the efforts by her students have been amazing.
“Kids are embracing the fact that they are helping another school in need and our student council has taken this on as a huge project and really encouraged kids to earn the money, not just have their parents donate,” she said. “Kids have done that!”