Club hopes for another successful ‘Pennies for Patients’ campaign

March 28, 2017 — by Stephen Ding and Vivien Zhang

“You know you aren't getting your phones back until the end of the day, right?” physics teacher Kirk Davis said as he confiscated three of his first-period students’ phones.
But as Davis saw them later rummaging through their backpacks to find spare bills and coins and placing them into the cardboard box labeled “Pennies for Patients” on the edge of his desk, he smiled in surprise and returned their phones, admiring their generosity.
Recently, Pennies for Patients donations boxes have been circulating the campus as part of Committed to Community club’s efforts to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The drive began March 17 and will end April 13, with all proceeds supporting the organization’s ongoing cancer research.
While Committed to Community generally focuses on volunteering events at non-profit organizations, current senior president Alice Bian decided to continue this event.

She hopes to turn it into an annual tradition. According to Bian, Pennies for Patients is a way to give the members a break from all the volunteering and participate in some campus service.
Some teachers have given out incentives for students to donate and even made Pennies for Patients into a classroom game. Since the club announced that they will reward the winning first-period class with a free breakfast from Rose’s, paid for by ASB, teachers such as Davis and Spanish teacher Arnaldo Rodriguex have been incentivising their donations in order to win the grand prize.  
“The amount of donations we get also depends heavily on whether the teacher acts as a role model,” Bian said. “Students tend to follow their teachers’ actions. For example, last year when Mr. Rodriguex donated $20 himself, it encouraged the rest of his students to do the same.”
While this campaign can be a fun way of creating friendly fire between different classes, Bian recalls that it can also be a bit of a hassle for the committee members.
“It can come off as a misunderstanding; since it’s called ‘Pennies for Patients,’ most people assume you’re only supposed to donate coins or pennies,” Bian said. “So when we collect the boxes last year, we found that a lot of them were entirely filled with pennies. Last year, we tirelessly counted out about 800 pennies from one class period.”
Nevertheless, Committed to Community hopes that this year's drive will turn out to be just as successful as last year’s.
“Our club is proud to help such an inspirational organization,” Bian said. “It’s part of the many ways that Committed to Community gets to help out not just the Saratoga residents but everyone in the areas around us.”

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