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Read to Feed Nets Record Donations
More than 2,000 families were able to enjoy a Thanksgiving Day meal thanks to the efforts of Wexford Elementary School and PNC Bank. PTO members, parents, administrators, teachers/staff, students and community members helped raise $17,780, at Wexford Elementary. PNC Bank matched the funds and contributed $17,780 to raise a whopping $35,560 for the KDKA Turkey Fund this year.
That’s a new record for Wexford Elementary School, which raised $32,8620 in 2017.
Organizers say that the children look forward to helping neighbors in need and that teaching children about generosity and reinforcing the value of reading every year is valuable. The children are not only reading, but they are participating in an outreach project.
“After we read and grow our minds, we are going to grow our hearts,” said Principal Kelly Gustafson at a kick-off assembly on November 1, 2018.
The fund has been providing families in need in the area with turkey dinners on Thanksgiving for more than 20 years. Wexford Elementary School has been raising money for 14 years and raised more than $268,500 with the help from PNC Bank and National City Bank.
Wexford kicked off the program on Nov. 1, 2018, and wrapped it up on Nov. 21, 2018, with the help of Meteorologist Jeff Verszyla. Students participated in a “Read-To-Feed” program in which students participated in a read-a-thon.
Children worked to secure contributors to sponsor their reading. Sponsors could be parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, friends, etc. This year’s special guest readers included Dr. Brian Miller, superintendent, and Officer Mark Wolfe and Officer Melinda Bondareka, from Northern Regional Police Department, Fire Chief Tim Flaherty, just to name a few.
Principal Kelly Gustafson, PNC Bank Representative Jim Balouris, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Donation Manager Megan Bailey, reading specialists, teachers, staff, parents, and students hosted this special event. Chair of the entire program was PTO representative Michelle Plowey.
“The kids are so excited when they see the turkeys,” said Mrs. Plowey regarding the decorations. “Their eyes light up.”
All of the money collected and donated during the read-a-thon Turkey Fund goes directly to the purchase of food for families in need. Area supermarkets have agreed to provide the food at wholesale cost.
On average, these Thanksgiving dinners cost $15 each. In Wexford’s 14 years of participation, the school has helped feed more than 17,500 families during the holiday seasons.